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China Secretly Clones Austrian Village 329

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-try-it-with-the-swiss dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "A scenic mountain village in Austria called Hallstatt has been copied, down to the statues, by a Chinese developer. Residents of the original Hallstatt attended Saturday's opening in China for the high-end residential project, but were still miffed about how the company did it. 'They should have asked the owners of the hotel and the other buildings if we agree with the idea to rebuild Hallstatt in China, and they did not,' says hotel owner Monika Wenger. People in Hallstatt first learned a year ago of the plan when a Chinese guest at Wenger's hotel who was involved with the project inadvertently spilled the beans. Minmetals staff had been taking photos and gathering data while mingling with tourists, raising suspicions among villagers. The original village is a centuries-old village of 900 and a UNESCO heritage site that survives on tourism. The copycat is a $940 million housing estate that thrives on China's new rich. In a country famous for pirated products, the replica Hallstatt sets a new standard. 'The moment I stepped into here, I felt I was in Europe,' says 22-year-old Zhu Bin, a Huizhou resident. 'The security guards wear nice costumes. All the houses are built in European style.' This isn't the first time a Chinese firm has used a European place as inspiration. The Chinese city of Anting, some 30 kilometers from Shanghai, created a district designed to accommodate 20,000 residents called 'German Town Anting' and in 2005 Chengdu British Town was modeled on the English town of Dorchester."
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China Secretly Clones Austrian Village

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:12PM (#40227337)

    Yeh and Disney made the magic castle from Neuschwanstein castle in Germany without asking Neuschwanstein.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuschwanstein_Castle

    It's an homage to Austria and they should be happy and market it as "come see the REAL Austrian village" and get rich Chinese to go visit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:25PM (#40227441)

    Hey Genius. Chinese is a nationality, not an ethnicity, culture, or religion. China has about 20 ethnic groups with populations over 1 million in China.

  • Re:priacy 2.0 (Score:3, Informative)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:27PM (#40227477)
    They're hardly the first to try to reproduce tourist destinations and landmarks. Tokyo has an Eiffel tower [wikipedia.org] and a Statue of Liberty [dumell.net].

    There's also name stealing. Missouri has a town called "Versailles." I hear the way it's pronounced in Missouri is "Ver-sales" rather than "Ver-sai." Probably to cut down on confusion. "Damnit! I meant to go to France! Ah well, guess I'll see the birthplace of Bud Walton, co-founder of Walmart."
  • NOT secret (Score:5, Informative)

    by rgbrenner (317308) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:28PM (#40227483)

    While I'm sure saying it was secret makes the story more exciting.. let's try to stick with things that are true. Here's an article from a year ago [spiegel.de]. The Chinese real-estate developer arranged a partnership between the two cities. Halstatt's Mayor knew of the development. That's the opposite of a secret.

    And if you think this is for some sinister purpose:

    This isn't the first time a Chinese firm has used a European place as inspiration. The Chinese city of Anting, some 30 kilometers from Shanghai, created a district designed to accommodate 20,000 residents called "German Town Anting." Modelled after a typical mid-size German city by architecture firm Albert Speer & Partner, it includes Bauhaus style architecture and a fountain with statues of Goethe and Schiller.

    In 2005 Chengdu British Town was modelled on the English town of Dorchester. One year later Thames Town was finished near Shanghai, complete with a 66-meter tall church that bears a striking resemblance to a cathedral in Bristol. Also near Shanghai are mini versions of Barcelona, Venice and the Scandinavian-inspired Nordic Town. The architectural plagiarisms are popular destinations among middle-class Chinese, even serving as backdrops for wedding photos.

    That's right: it's for tourism.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:48PM (#40227617) Homepage Journal
    They did not use a 'car' down a street with a developer logo on the side - in the open, talking to the community.
    Secret fits what was done. As for India, England did build in its own image in many areas...
  • On the other hand... (Score:4, Informative)

    by lulalala (1359891) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:51PM (#40227643)

    In Germany there is this town which has the long tradition of turning into Chinese during the week of carnival:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/bavaria-s-chinese-carnival-long-live-the-emperor-of-dietfurt-a-677961.html [spiegel.de]

  • Sorry... (Score:4, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @12:14AM (#40228923)

    But design patents and copyright do not last hundreds of years.

    The Chinese developer has every right to do this. For fucks' sake, Disney's castle rips off castles from all over Europe and nobody says a peep.

    The Austrians should be happy it's just a developer copying it and not the Chinese military, who have copied a section of a Kashmir (Aksai Chin) for military training purposes, specifically, tank training.

    http://pruned.blogspot.com/2006/07/huangyangtan-or-tactical-geoannexation.html [blogspot.com]

    --
    BMO

  • Re:No problem... (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @03:50AM (#40229827) Homepage

    There is actually a "Europe Town" in Yokohama in Japan, where many European foreigners lived. It is actually within walking distance of China Town too. Some of the houses have been made into museums. There are some ruins of the original homes people built without taking heed of warnings about earthquakes too.

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