The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts revisited the village of Huaxi ahead of the official unveiling of its new centrepiece, a 72-storey skyscraper housing a one-tonne, 300 million yuan solid gold ox.
An incongruous new sight has risen up in the countryside of eastern China: a skyscraper taller than any building in London or Tokyo, topped by what looks very much like a giant, golden disco ball. The 328-metre supertower, which juts out of the Jiangsu plains like a trophy on an empty shelf, will be opened on Saturday by the village of Huaxi, a communist model community with a registered population of just 2,000 “farmers”.
Having been built up to the heavens during a period of global economic collapse, the megatower will be heralded as the latest symbol of China’s extraordinary economic expansion. But this bizarre new addition to the landscape also speaks volumes about the land pressures, environmental stress, inequality and rash investment that threaten the country’s long-term growth.