This is no Chinatown. According to the New York Post, Plans are in motion to build a China-themed ‘city’ in the Catskills town of Thompson, 100 miles northwest of New York City. And no, we aren’t kidding.
The proposed city would include a college, over 1,000 residences, Chinese retail centers, and even a casino. All laid out according to principals of Feng Shui, of course. The project has not yet been approved, but is under consideration.
Under federal visa program EB-5, the U.S immigration will grant green cards to anyone willing to invest $500,000 in the United States. This program, combined with the ‘China City of America’ (the official name of the project) will most likely hope to draw in wealthy Chinese families and stimulate foreign investment in the U.S.
David North, who authored a report picking apart China City’s proposal for the D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies, sums up this odd project: “This is kind of a combination of pie-in-the-sky and ethnic solidarity and showmanship and a federal program that sort of facilitates this sort of thing. It’s really an odd mix.”
Eventually the city would also hold an amusement park, paying tribute to the zodiac signs and the major Chinese dynasties, as well as a replica of the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. A sort of Chinese Disneyland, you might say.
If the project is approved, every Chinese province would have an office there, and not surprisingly, the opposition of the project is huge. Not only do skeptics mention the massive proposed budget (billions long-term), and the strain it would put on U.S. taxpayers, but also the utter strangeness of the project itself. A Chinese city in upstate NY, really?
More radical critics cry out for national security–that the project would end up as a “stalking horse” for the Beijing government.
Neither Thompson local officials nor the Florida-based law firm involved in the project were available for comment, but we’ll be keeping our ears open for new developments in this Chinatown on steroids.
By Lauren Holdcroft
[Pictures from the project’s official website]