Doubts over military fantasyland's feasibility
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A multibillion-yuan military theme park featuring an armed forces fantasyland is expected to be built in Beijing over the next five years amid questions about its feasibility.
Qi Zhongliang, deputy curator of Beijing's Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, was quoted by Xinhua as saying the museum planned to build the 213-hectare theme park in Daxing district's 'New Beizang Town'.
The park would comprise five parts: an outdoor 'square' showing the development of Chinese warfare, the fantasyland, campsites for defence education and training, a zone exploring military innovation and a cultural centre, Qi told Xinhua.
The square would have several sections dedicated to military intelligence, art, technology and generals, the report said.
In the fantasyland, visitors would experience classical military stories and famous battles brought to life through interactive technology.
The project still needed to be approved by the central government but was expected to cost about 9.5 billion yuan (HK$11.59 billion), Xinhua said. But it was not clear where the money for the project would come from.
Despite the huge planned investment and the project's grand scale, military enthusiasts said the park would be less attractive than existing parks and revolutionary bases.
'Beijing is not a right and proper place to build any military theme park because of its purely symbolic role,' Hunan school teacher Benjamin Xia Peng said.
'The capital is a cultural and political centre, not a historical battleground. It's just a podium. I'd rather visit Tiananmen Square, the [Forbidden City] Palace Museum or the Summer Palace.'
Shanghai-based enthusiast Chen Baoshu said the theme park would probably be more about making money than a place for serious understanding of warfare like the military museum.
'Like other theme parks, it will be a place full of commercial elements,' Chen said.
'So I don't think it's good news for military enthusiasts.'
Just last week, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) ordered local governments to stop approvals of all theme parks costing more than 500 million yuan or covering more than 1.3 hectares.
The NDRC insisted in 2004 that plans for all major theme parks be submitted to the State Council for approval to prevent local governments and developers using them as cover to develop more profitable projects. In 2008, amid the global financial crisis, the central government offered fast-track approvals for theme parks to encourage use of stimulus money.
This the estimated amount of money, in yuan, which has been invested in approximately 2,500 theme parks on the mainland