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While tens of thousands of visitors have visited the China Pavilion, one of the most popular spots at the Shanghai Expo, a copycat version of the pavilion is under construction in a poverty-stricken county in Jiangsu province, causing a huge controversy.
The mimic pavilion lies at the crossroads of two national highways in the south of Funing county, Yancheng city in East China.
The seven-story building is quite similar in appearance to the original China Pavilion in terms of its structure, color and shape.
The only difference is that the mimic is just a sculpture, which has limited inside space and cannot be used as a pavilion.
"Construction of the building started after the Spring Festival holiday this year. It was planned to be completed before May Day, but only the main body has been finished and another 20 days are needed to build the square and the facilities around it," a local construction worker for the project was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.
Documents from the planning bureau in Funing county show that the 23-meter-high sculpture cost about two million yuan ($294,000) and the square covers an area of 8,000 square meters at a cost of 1.5 million yuan.
"Maybe the original intention of the government was not bad, but spending so much money to build such a sculpture, which has nothing practical in it, is not proper, especially in a poverty-stricken county," said Zhang Hailiang, a local villager.
Other issues, including occupying large amounts of land and plagiarizing the design of the China Pavilion, also drew complaints from local people.
But government officials said the sculpture will be an asset to the county.
"The county is in an inferior geographical position to develop its economy as it is not close to the sea and has no expressway. Building an eye-catching sculpture will increase local influence in the outside world," said Li Deping, director of the office of Funing county government.
Xia Yongsen, head of the local planning bureau, said the square, which is under construction, had been planned as early as 1998 to provide an exercise area for local residents.
"When the square project finally started in September last year, the planning bureau decided to build a sculpture on it, which is similar to the shape of the China Pavilion to show the county's participation in the Expo," he said.
1. How much did the copycat cost?
2. What will the space be used for?
3. When did the copycat construction begin?
1. 2 million yuan
2. an exercise square, attract visitors
3. After spring festival
（中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑）
Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China daily for one year.