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‘Love stairs’ to get billion-yuan tourism development

By Du Liya (Global Times)

08:42, November 06, 2012

A love-themed tourism project with a planned investment of 2.6 billion yuan ($416 million) in Chongqing Municipality has caused controversy, with the authorities being accused by Web users of taking advantage of a touching love story of a deceased local couple.

The Jiangjin district tourism project, first proposed in 2010 and is still being studied, calls for the construction of a scenic site with the core attraction being a 6,000-step staircase, which was carved into mountain slope to enable Liu Guojiang's wife to climb to their home.

Liu was 10 years younger than his lover Xu Chaoqing, who was a widow. They decided to live high up a mountain after they were ostracized by villagers in the 1950s. They spent decades together on the mountain. Liu carved the stone staircase into the mountain to create a safe and easy passage for Xu to climb. Their story was reported by media in 2006 and the staircase was named the "Love Stairs."

The proposal for the development of the scenic site caused public outcry after it was revived less than a week after Xu passed away on October 30. Liu died five years ago.

Some hailed the project saying the love-themed attraction will be a boon to tourism and help the region's economic development. Many others, however, said the ambitious commercial development will stain Liu and Xu's love story.

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