Zhouzhi county, Xian, in central China’s Shaanxi province, is more famous for its kiwi fruit exports than it is for good architecture, let alone landscaping.
Nevertheless, it was the subject of mass ridicule when photos of the county’s newly designed North Gate entrance surfaced on the internet.
The pictures on Chinanews.com , followed up by Caixin.com , revealed a multilane highway leading into the Tai Zhou Wanjing Trade City, a project built last year with the aim of attracting greater foreign investment into the poverty-stricken county.
The gate’s entrance was ornamented with four strange-looking yellow columns of elevated flower pots on each side of the road.
Fuming Chinese netizens (many presumably local citizens from Zhouzhi) complained that the new works of art looked like “giant cigarettes” implanted vertically into stone pedestals and that the government had wasted "hundreds of millions of yuan".
Zhouzhi’s government, however, responded that the “giant cigarettes” were in line with the county’s planning requirements and made for a much “enhanced” and “attractive” surrounding.