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March 31st, 2007 at 11:43 pm

China’s 13-Mile Long Dragon

Environmental officials in central China may stop the construction of a 21-kilometer (13-mile) -long dragon planned as a tourist attraction because of the environmental impact, state media reported Wednesday.

Image: Dragon under construction 

A general view shows the construction side of a 13-mile-long concrete dragon along the ridge of Shizu mountain on the outskirts of Xinzheng, central China’s Henan province.



The dragon is to snake its way along the top of a ridge of Shizhu Mountain, which was designated a national forest park in 2005, and environmentalists fear the 300 million yuan project could damage the local ecological system, Xinhua News Agency said.

The Henan Environmental Protection Agency, which said it first heard of the project through media reports, has sent a team to investigate the project that started without the necessary environmental assessments, Xinhua reported.

"If the project fails our assessment, we will order it be stopped or the demolition of the completed part," an unidentified official with the administration was quoted as saying.

The dragon’s body forms a nine-meter (27-foot) high wall running along the backbone of the ridge. The project calls for 5.6 million pieces of white marble and gilded bronze to form the dragon’s scales which are supposed to be "symbolic of the country’s 56 ethnic groups", Xinhua said.

The project in Henan province was planned by the Zulong Company, it said, but gave no other details on the firm.

"The planned dragon is like an expressway which will damage vegetation, affect the landscape and destroy the local ecological system," Wu Mingzuo, director of Henan Ecology Society, was quoted as saying.



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