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Late writer's birthplace plans ambitious project

(Shanghai Daily)

10:47, October 26, 2012

EMINENT writer and scholar Lin Yutang's birthplace, Banzai, a mountainous town in Fujian Province, plans to spend about 3 billion yuan (US$481 million) building a "world literature town" to boost tourism.

Cai Xiaoyong, a Banzai Party official, said they started the project to match the late Lin's prominent literary status. The local government attracted 1 billion yuan (US$160 million) of investment two years ago as part of its "Lin-themed" cultural project.

A park to show Lin's childhood and to mark his popular novel "A Leaf in the Storm," dubbed a Chinese version of "Gone with the Wind," has been completed.

But people argued the government and developer have failed to show Lin proper respect as they just want to make money off of his name. Critics also feared the ambitious blueprint would be halted due to its high costs, Strait Herald, a Fujian-based newspaper, reported yesterday.

Yikun Investment Company, which is funding the project, said 3 billion yuan was just an estimate and that actual investment may be more.

"We wouldn't do it if we didn't forecast handsome returns," said Guo Huiling, a manager at the company.

Cai also ensured the public that Yikun is a trustworthy company and the government will keep a close eye on the development, the paper said.

Lin was born in 1895 and died in 1976. He was one of the most influential writers of his generation.

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