Sometimes I think China sits around thinking of ways it can do things that will end up being passed around the internet for the rest of the world to look at and think, "What the fuck, China." This all may be part of a devious plan, a disinformation campaign. Or maybe lots of people in China are moderately crazy.

Well, here's a giant concrete replica of the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Mull that over for a second.


Now I know China loves to build knockoffs of all things Western – either to sell back to us at a profit or simply for its own inscrutable reasons – but it's not immediately clear what could have possessed them to build a nearly full-sized aircraft carrier out of concrete. Believe it or not, building oceangoing ships out of concrete is rare but not unprecedented. However this concrete carrier was never intended to sail. Or even float.

Turns out that this is, in essence, a mall. The ship is actually a building resting on solid ground in a very shallow artificial lake. It's a theme restaurant-shopping-entertainment complex concocted by the city of Binzhou to gin up some tourism. According to what little information I could find:

Driving force behind the boat was the Binzhou City Tourism Bureau that designed the Binzhou Aircraft Carrier as a multifunctional entertainment paradise with restaurants, movie theaters, shops and a hotel.

Sadly, thing didn't turn out as planned. The construction of the interior proved much more expensive than estimated and the small city of Binzhou ran out of money. Further construction was suspended in 2006. The Binzhou Tourism Bureau went looking for investors and managed to persuade other government-run enterprises to put up some extra cash. In 2008 things looked very bright when the first restaurants and bars opened their doors on the upper deck of the ship.

Said businesses failed quickly, and for more than two years the derelict derelict has stood empty. It has the perfect paint job for a white elephant. You'd think the city leaders would just demolish it – clearly no one is going to buy it, and the description hints strongly that it might not even be structurally sound – so as to avoid having to look at the goddamn thing every day.

I don't understand you, China. I doubt I ever will.