A 70 million yuan statue of a puffer fish erected on an island in Yangzhong, Jiangsu province has stirred debate among locals, many of whom have amazingly suggested that there might be better things to spend 1,400 times the average resident’s annual salary on than a giant statue of a fish.
The statue, located on Puffer Island, is 90 metres long, 44 metres wide, and 62 metres tall (295 ft x 144 ft x 203 ft). It weighs in at around 2,100 tons.
Of course, awful, overly expensive public works of art are hardly a rarity in China. What’s truly interesting is that residents are actually pushing back against local officials’ latest vanity project. Appropriately enough this is in Jiangsu, which has some of the highest concentration of government debt of any province in China.
Local authority debt is normally described as a bubble, perhaps puffer fish is a more appropriate metaphor?