News

Residents: giant, $11M copper ‘puffer’ tower is fishy

Residents: giant, $11M copper ‘puffer’ tower is fishy

SHEER SCALE: A viewing tower in the shape of a giant copper puffer fish is seen under construction on the banks of a river in Yangzhong county, Jiangsu province Sept. 21, 2013. Photo: Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese viewing tower in the shape of a giant, copper puffer fish has raised an online huff about the latest in a series of bizarre and extravagant targets of state investment.

Encased in 8,920 copper plates and built at a cost of around 70 million yuan ($11.4 million), the tower on an island in Yangzhong county, eastern Jiangsu province, hovers 15 storeys above ground.

The government has often been criticized for wasteful investment to power the world’s No. 2 economy. Beijing acknowledges the problem and wants consumption to overtake investment as a driver of growth.

Residents who welcome the fish tower say it improves the county’s image. Less enthusiastic residents question whether such expensive and impractical buildings are needed.

“To spend so much money on something so meaningless, I really admire these ‘wealthy’ people,” Mother988 said on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, with apparent heavy irony.

The People’s Daily, the Chinese government’s main mouthpiece, acknowledged that the construction had polarized opinion.

“Once this giant puffer made its appearance, it caused a heated debate online,” it said.

Public records show Jiangsu’s local government bodies are the most indebted in the country.

Jiangsu says its debt is manageable, but took steps this week to rein in risk by announcing plans to control land sales, becoming the first Chinese government to do so.

Yangzhong aims to promote the tower as the world’s biggest metal construction in terms of volume, The People’s Daily said.

Central Henan province drew controversy in 2011 when a state-backed charity tried to build an eight-storey sculpture of Song Qingling, second wife of modern China’s founding father Sun Yat Sen. Construction was scrapped half-way through.

The eastern province of Zhejiang also came under the spotlight after it modeled one of its city court houses on Capitol Hill.($1 = 6.1 yuan)

Recent Headlines

5 hours ago in Sports

Party like it’s 1999: Denver to celebrate another Super Bowl

Denver Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak, right, reacts after getting soaked with a sports drink by Von Miller (58) after their win against the Carolina Panthers in the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Denver Broncos will board fire trucks and roll slowly through the crowd-lined streets of the Mile High City to celebrate winning the Super Bowl.

6 hours ago in Entertainment, Sports

Super Bowl fans bet record $132.5 million at Nevada casinos

Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning, center right, holds the trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Denver were a 5-1/2-point underdog to top-seeded Carolina ahead of Sunday's game in Santa Clara, California, but used a ferocious defense to pull out a 24-10 victory.

6 hours ago in Sports

Nearly 112 million watch Super Bowl 50 on TV, below record

Members of the Denver Broncos hold the trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Super Bowl 50 was the third most-watched Super Bowl in U.S. history with 111.9 million Americans watching the game on television, ratings data showed.