When it comes to counterfeiting in China, we thought we’d seen it all. We really did. But the era of new age counterfeiting which brought us fake fruit, viagra and condoms continues to thrive, the latest addition being a life-sized replica of the Great Sphinx of Giza.
Yes, you can, much to Egypt’s dismay, go to Hebei’s Shijiazhuang right now and see a 60 x 20 meter replica of the Sphinx, missing nose and all. The construction, however, has resulted in Egypt filing a complaint to UNESCO against China, for violating international regulations, according to Egypt’s antiquities department. Egypt isn’t angry, it’s disappointed.
Ali El-Asfar, Chairman of the Egyptian antiquities department, argues that the replica is not only inaccurate, but will have a negative effect on Egypt’s tourism industry, and are requesting that China inform Egypt of the purpose of the structure. If for entertainment purposes, Egypt should have been notified, according to El-Asfar. Other representatives in Egypt’s tourism industry have agreed that while China meant no harm in the construction, China’s Sphinx will harm the original’s value.
So what will happen? Will UNESCO give China a scolding? Will China respond?
We don’t know if any international tourist would ever choose to visit Shijiazhuang over Egypt, but nonetheless, the story merits another tut-tut to China.
By Giulia Sciota