Officials in a Beijing suburb have sidestepped President Xi Jinping's crackdown on government waste by building themselves a lavish office complex reminiscent of the Kremlin, the Beijing Youth Daily said.
Mentougou, a largely rural district in western Beijing with some 270,000 residents, is now home to a group of government buildings with onion-shaped golden crowns, arched windows and white walls similar to the Cathedral of Annunciation, the five-century-old Russian Orthodox Church located inside the Kremlin in Moscow.
"Four new buildings appeared that looked just like the Kremlin," a Mentougou resident identified only his family name told the paper.
"It wasn't until we read a sign on one saying 'Meteorological Bureau' that we realised it was a government building."
A man from the Mentougou district press office said he had "seen the building before", but was trying to verify whether it was a government building.
Two Sina Weibo users posted photos and video of the faux Kremlin.
The newspaper said the meteorological bureau was the first tenant in the new compound. The three other buildings will house the district's seismological bureau, water bureau, and the bureau of landscape and forestry.
The district's meteorological office refused to comment.
One of the buildings in the compound cost 21 million yuan (HK$27 million), and another more than nine million yuan, according to the newspaper.
This was not the first mainland government building to imitate or be inspired by an overseas landmark. One of the most notorious examples was the government headquarters in Fuyang , an impoverished city in Anhui province, which was built a decade ago at a cost of at least 30 million yuan.
It has since become a tourist attraction for its purported resemblance to the White House in Washington.