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Born in Austria, made in China

Monday, June 04, 2012 - 01:36

June 4 - The controversial Chinese clone of Austria's UNESCO World Heritage village opens to visitors in southern China's Guangdong Province. Tara Cleary reports.

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It looks like a picturesque village in Austria … until you see the Mandarin signs. This is China's clone of Austria's UNESCO World Heritage village, Hallstatt. It cost around 940 million U.S. dollars to build and its existence is controversial in the 'real' Hallstatt. SOUNDBITE: Karin Höll, resident of Hallstatt, saying (German): "I don't think that it is a good idea. Hallstatt is unique with its culture and traditions. You can't copy that. In my opinion it's unacceptable." But the village's mayor, Alexander Scheutz, who visited China to mark the replica's opening, thinks it will bring tourists to his town in Austria. SOUNDBITE: Alexander Scheutz, Mayor of Hallstatt, saying (English): "It's not so controversial. We were only surprised that a small village in Austria was built, and now we are very proud that it happened." Visitors to Chinese Hallstatt were transported. SOUNDBITE: Zhu Bin, 22-year-old Huizhou resident, saying (Mandarin): "The moment I stepped into the village, I felt I was in Europe. The security guards wear nice costumes. All the houses are built in European style." Fewer than 50 Chinese tourists visited Hallstatt in 2005, but now thousands visit annually. And the Chinese Hallstatt could draw thousands more to the ancient village. Tara Cleary, Reuters.

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Born in Austria, made in China

Monday, June 04, 2012 - 01:36