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The Economist | Architectural bombast: Banned buildings

The Economist

Architectural bombast
Banned buildings

GATED, gilded and gaudy, they have sprung up all over China: overwrought government buildings erected at vast public expense, and in stark contrast to the shoddy state of so many homes and schools. In style they range from modernist brutalism to Versailles kitsch. In function, they are less lofty. The four towers in the second picture are the government headquarters of Changxing, a county in Zhejiang with a population of just 620,000. In a sign the central government understands public frustration with the waste, and the whiff of corruption, associated with these projects, it has ordered a five-year “across-the-board halt” to official building projects. The ban also covers government hotels and training centres. Announcing the ban, the government acknowledged that “glitzy structures” have “tainted the image” of the Communist Party and “stirred vehement public disapproval”.

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