Egypt furious at China as replica Sphinx reappears at culture park

Full-size copy of ancient statue, built in 2014 as a film prop, comes back to life two years after being taken down at Cairo’s request

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 June, 2018, 9:30pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 June, 2018, 9:30pm

A full-size replica of the Great Sphinx of Giza has reappeared in northern China, two years after authorities in Egypt appealed for it to be torn down; and Cairo is roaring once more.

The dispute began in 2014, when the 20-metre-high by 60-metre-long statue was unveiled at a cultural industry zone in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, Chinese news website reported on Sunday.

Its uncanny resemblance to the world-famous limestone statue, which has stood on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the River Nile for more than 4,000 years, caused uproar in Cairo.

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Officials there promptly filed an appeal to Unesco to have the replica dismantled on the grounds that it was a blatant copy of the famous Egyptian landmark and had been erected without permission.

A manager from the Hebei venue said at the time that the sphinx had been built as a prop for a drama production and would be demolished once filming had finished, the report said.

That dismantling work did not take place until 2016, however, and even then, workers only separated the creature’s head from its body.

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The remains of the replica sat untouched at the cultural industry zone until last month when visitors found a team of workers reuniting its head with its body, the report said.

When news of the reconstruction work reached Cairo, officials there were livid.

According to the website report, Egyptian officials are once again taking the case to Unesco and also plan to contact China’s foreign affairs ministry to request the statue be taken down permanently.

Authorities were quoted as saying that the latest incident was insulting to the country’s cultural heritage.