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A symbol of affluence or a trap of luxury?

(People's Daily Online)

16:12, June 26, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

I just returned from Shenyang a few days ago and learned that Shenyang is planning the construction project to prepare for the next National Games.

One day later, I was told that an indoor stadium, which had cost 800 million yuan and was only used for eight years, was demolished by blasting in eight seconds. I feel incomprehensible to it. No matter how many reasons can explain why it was constructed in the past and must be demolished today, it exposed the mentality of yearning for quick success and instant benefits of some Chinese people.

Another similar mentality is the mentality of showing off and splurging after making great fortune overnight. Following the demolition of the Green Island Sports Center of Shenyang, there came other appalling news that a high building will be built in Wangcheng of Changsha city. There are three reasons making people surprised: first, the building will be 10 meters higher than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, reaching 838 meters; second, it will spend seven months to be completed while the construction of Burj Khalifa spent six years; third, it will be located in Wangcheng, the hometown of Lei Feng. The villagers will see a skyscraper in which they can eat, live, play and shop at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. Of course, the precondition is that they must have enough money with them.

We all know the great miracles in the history of man, one of which is the "Hanging Garden" of Babylon. But that was only a garden and had become a legend now. Do Chinese entrepreneurs and local officials want to reproduce such a castle in the air? Not only Changsha but also Shanghai, Wuhan and Beijing are trying to build some ultrahigh buildings.

In addition to the construction of ultrahigh landmark buildings, there also is the upsurge of constructing stadiums, museums, theaters and shopping centers to show off the wealth and strengths of a city. For example, since the Beijing National Grand Theater which spent 3.2 billion yuan was completed in Beijing, the grand theaters costing more than 1 billion yuan were constructed in succession in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin. Jiangsu also plans to invest 2 billion yuan in building a grand theater. Besides these big cities, some medium-sized cities in the Pearl River Delta and he Yangtze River Delta including Zhongshan, Dongguan, Wuxi and Changzhou also built large theaters. In order to meet the Tenth Chinese Arts Festival, Shandong is stepping up efforts to build a number of large theaters. It is said that every theater will cost over 100 million yuan.

Another flaunt is the construction of shopping centers. According to the data published by an international institution, eight Chinese cities are listed in the world's top 10 cities owning the largest construction area of shopping centers, with the top three being Chinese cities and Tianjin ranking first. The construction area of the shopping centers in Tianjin will surpass any other European cities, excluding Paris and Moscow. Shenyang ranks second, Chengdu ranks third and Wuhan ranks fifth. According to the U.S. Market Watch, as the developers have a high expectation to Chinese consumers, some Chinese cities which are not well known in the West are constructing some huge shopping centers unparalleled to other regions.

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Read the Chinese version: 富足的象征还是奢华的陷阱
Source: China Youth Daily, author: Shu Xing

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