The Eiffel tower in Hangzhou. A French chateau just outside of Beijing. And the charming Austrian alpine village of Hallstat, plunked down in Boluo, a small town of less than a million people about an hour and half's drive from Guangzhou. Across the Middle Kingdom, replicasof famous Western monuments, landscapes, even entire towns are appearing at a frantic pace. Some argue the carbon copies are simply a manifestation of modern China's penchant for copyright infringement; others, that they represent an obsession with Western styles and tastes. But archaeologist Jack Carlson, writing in FP, argues it is only the latest example of a broader theme in Chinese history: co-opting duplicates from distant lands to demonstrate China's place at the center, and as heir to all the world's achievements. "Then, as now, the projects were intended to showcase China's own worldliness, wealth, and global supremacy," Carlson writes. Here are some of the most striking reproductions to arise out of this modern copycat wave.
Above, a woman braves the elements in front of a replica Eiffel Tower in the outskirts of Hangzhou, China, in September 2007.