The world doesn’t find it weird when China copies well-known creations, innovations, or architectural works. One may mention magnificent designs like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Shanghai at a scale of 1:4, the Sphinx in Hebei province with a full size, the statues of Easter island, and many others. Even the White House can be seen throughout China!
In fact, these structures combine the south side of the White House with the Capitol Building; some designs are similar to the Capitol Building. But the Chinese commonly call them the White House, and you will be surprised by their functions.
These buildings are as dignified as the court building, museums, and district administrative buildings.
The People’s Court Building of Minhang District, Shanghai, was completed and used in 1998.
The White House and Capitol Building inspired the government office building in Yingquan District, Fuyang, Anhui province.
As BBC reported, the construction of this building reportedly cost 30 million yuan or 4.4 million dollars. It was suspected that Zhang Zhian, the former secretary of Yingquan District, used bribes to build the building.
The Wuhu Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Zhang Zhian for soliciting or accepting bribes 52 times, totaling more than 3.6 million yuan or 533,000 dollars. He was sentenced to death in February 2010.
Commercial buildings, hotels, theme parks, schools, and mansions also have the shape of the White House.
The building of Wuhan Commerce and Trade Vocational College, Hubei Province, was completed and used in 2005.
The Lijiang Pearl Hotel, Panyu, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, was completed and opened in 1995.
The Window of the World is a theme park located in the western part of Shenzhen. It was put into operation in 1993.
According to dayu.news, this “White House” shaped building was original of Beijing Geely University. At the end of 2019, it moved to Chengdu, Sichuan. This campus became the Changping Campus of Peking University. Then Peking University was to take off the hat to the building.
Xu Ning, a farmer from Hainan, raises rubber and betel nuts. He built his house on a hillside in the Capitol Building style. When it was finished in 2008, the villa caused a stir and became a landmark in the area. He was even famous online under the name White House Farmer.
It isn’t clear whether the building had any violated planning regulations. But the other mansion did.
According to the Telegraph, a wealthy Chinese man has seen his White House reduced to a pile of rubble. The mansion was built in early 2013, and it was not until March 2014 that it was discovered it violated planning regulations.
The mansion, designed in the White House style, was situated in the center of a residential neighborhood in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. This is reportedly popular with well-off entrepreneurs and Communist Party cadres.
A resident said, “If the owners didn’t have connections, they wouldn’t dare build these illegal constructions, would they?”
A Chinese Toilet House looks like the White House.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, the 418-square-meter or 4,500-square – feet toilet looks like a mash-up of the White House and the Capitol Building.
Anhui Golden Seed Winery Co. was its owner. The company spent 144,000 dollars to construct it. Immediately, there was a flurry of criticism, with some calling the expense a waste.
An executive of the liquor company told China Daily, “We wanted to make the building a little special in appearance, but more importantly, we emphasize its function as a toilet, so the interior decoration is not as luxurious as some people imagine.”
Two factors promote the empire of counterfeit goods in China.
First: After the cultural revolution, China promoted enrichment through privileges
In the late 1970s, China was still mostly a poor country, where bicycles filled the roads, televisions mainly broadcast the official government line, and the government ruled the market.
Mao’s death in 1976 ended the brutality and chaos of the Cultural Revolution. During the revolution, it seemed to be a crime to get rich.
At the time, famous Communist slogans included “To cut off the tail of capitalism” and “The poorer you are, the more glorious you get.”
Even farmers selling fresh eggs were labeled as capitalists. Capitalists and wealthy landlords were persecuted as bad elements. English-speaking individuals and those with Western education or training were sacked, denounced, or paraded through the streets.
Everything changed in 1979 when Deng Xiaoping allowed areas of the southern province of Guangzhou to become a special economic zone. It permitted Western-style management of businesses. Then foreign investments were encouraged, and factories were run for the first time.
Along with attracting investment from abroad, the government promoted enrichment through privileges.
For example, Jiangsu province’s authorities declared in 2006 that significant taxpayers would help decide whether an official is dismissed or promoted. Any company that pays more than 375,000 dollars annual tax would get these privileges.
In other places, wealthy entrepreneurs were receiving exemptions from one-child-only laws by joining with ethnic minorities, rural peasants, and parents of only children.
Therefore, to become rich, people were willing to do anything. The first entrepreneurs mainly played an important role as others took them as an example.
According to the Washington Post, from about 1978 to the mid-1980s, the first entrepreneurs were mostly members of the lower classes, people on the margins of society, and occasionally criminals. They knew little about the market but had nothing to lose by risking denunciation or the scorn of their neighbors. Especially they had little money. To raise an inventory, they frequently had to smuggle—clothing, radios, and watches.
Meanwhile, China attracted many international businesses due to low salaries and domestic opportunities. Since then, the country has adopted new technologies. China was quickly named “the world’s factory,” where global brands produce some or most of their products.
Chinese factories possess the expertise necessary to imitate practically anything, thanks to years of relocation for global businesses.
The government’s promotion of financial success and advantageous copying conditions have all contributed to the creation of China’s billion-dollar counterfeiting sector.
According to Europol, Mainland China and Hong Kong were the sources of 86% of all counterfeit goods produced worldwide in 2015. This resulted in a total value of close to 400 billion dollars in counterfeit goods.
Second: The counterfeit empire is backed by a superpower organization.
As daxue consulting reported, the Chinese regulators routinely check physical stores. However, the effectiveness of actual law enforcement is dubious. Regulators ignore small stalls that sell counterfeit items. Physical fake marketplaces are openly accessible, simple to find, and even reviewable on websites like Tripadvisor in cities like Shanghai and Beijing.
Besides, China lacks laws to punish buyers of counterfeit goods, while buying fake goods is a punishable crime in other countries.
In addition, China lacks effective penalties for selling counterfeit. Alibaba submitted 1,910 cases of suspected counterfeiting to the authorities in February 2017, and only 129 persons were found guilty.
You may ask why Chinese authorities are negligent about this?
We can find the reason by thinking about who profits from the Chinese counterfeit industry.
Alain Rodier, the author of the book ‘The Triads: the hidden threat,’ indicates that the counterfeiting industry is linked to Chinese triads.
The triad is a Chinese transnational organized crime syndicate that performs illicit activity across China and various countries.
Alain Rodier argues: “As far as the Chinese triads are concerned, they would have a worldwide turnover of 200 billion dollars. Much of this money is reinvested in the legal economy”. This is a way of money laundering. For example, it is considered that the Sun Yee On triad largely participated in the development of Shenzhen, which is a mecca for cheap knockoffs.
And behind the triads is the Chinese government.
As The New York Times reported, before Britain handover Hong Kong to China in 1997, the mainland authorities sought to team up with the triads. The Chinese government wanted to limit their support for pro-democracy protesters and foster calm during the sensitive handover period.
On a visit to Hong Kong in 1992, Tao Siju, China’s chief law enforcement officer, said, “The members of triads are not always gangsters,” “As long as they are patriots, concerned with maintaining the prosperity of Hong Kong, we should respect them.”
The counterfeit phenomenon has also rapidly grown in China since the early 1990s.