China to ban Foreign Architectural imitations


Chinese government is clamping down copies of foreign architecture across China. The English towns, Alpine villages and the Eiffel Tower will be clamped down in order to promote local design.

A government statement says “plagiarising, imitating, and copycatting” designs is prohibited in new public facilities.

The statement says buildings “reveal a city’s culture” – and that “large, foreign, and weird” designs should be limited.

The guidelines also clamp down on new skyscrapers – limiting them, in general, to a maximum of 500 metres.

The government did not say what will happen to existing “foreign” buildings, but does say there will be “city inspections” to check for problems.

The statement, issued on 27 April but only reported this week, singles out stadiums, exhibition centres, museums and theatres as public facilities where it’s especially important to ban plagiarism.

“City constructions are the combination of a city’s external image and internal spirit, revealing a city’s culture,” the government statement says.

The guidelines on “foreign” architecture were mostly welcomed on Chinese social media.

“The ban is great,” wrote a Weibo user. “It’s much better to protect our historical architectures than build fake copycat ones.”

Another recalled seeing an imitation White House in Jiangsu province. “It burned my eyes,” she said.

It calls for a “new era” of architecture to “strengthen cultural confidence, show the city’s features, exhibit the contemporary spirit, and display the Chinese characteristics”.

In 2013, the BBC visited “Thames Town”, an imitation English town in Songjiang in Shanghai.

The town features cobbled streets, a medieval meeting hall – even a statue of Winston Churchill – and was a popular spot for wedding photos.

“Usually if you want to see foreign buildings, you have to go abroad,” said one person. “But if we import them to China, people can save money while experiencing foreign-style architecture.”

China, of course, is not the only country to borrow – or copy – other countries’ designs.

Las Vegas in the US revels in its imitations of iconic foreign architecture including the Eiffel Tower and Venetian canals.

Thailand also has developments that mimic the Italian countryside and charming English villages, mainly aimed at domestic tourists.