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.

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  • Maybe they are trying to copy 19th century US?

    The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, (Thank you, Wikipedia), with the Palas statue in natural size, go figure, you heathens!

  • Why would they build a Parthenon in a state where few people are able to identify what that is, much less the significance of it?

    Anyway, this sort of thing has precedent in China. In the Summer Palace in Beijing you can see this marble ship. Apparently the dowager empress Cixi(last of the Qing dynasty rulers if you don't count Pu Yi), was told that she needed a navy if she was going to do something about the British and Japanese. IIRC, she spent the money earmarked for a real fleet on that useless marble ship.

  • middle seaman says:

    Attempts to compare Nashville to China ignore the fact that the Chinese don't write songs about truck drivers. China has its own opera though.

    Students in engineering schools have a competition among concrete canoes. Hey, concrete seems lighter than steel of which most ships are made. So, stop poking fan at the Chinese. (I take it personally, my grandsons are half Chinese.)

    Finally, talking about white elephants. Remember AIG? We had to sink a cool trillion to save that con job. By the way, it continues to con.

  • Well, let's christen the ship for Black Friday and bring it piece by piece to the states. This year Walmart plead guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its retail stores across America. The lagoon of consumerism could use some concrete shoes.

  • Middle Seaman – concrete is less dense than steel, so the same amount weighs less, but concrete ships typically weigh more than steel ships because the difference in material strength means that had concrete ships have much thicker hulls and support members.

    That said, I skipped the concrete canoe race when I was in school and made a concrete frisbee instead.

  • Demolishing it would mean admitting that they were wrong to build it in the first place. Nobody wants to do that. Even in the United States no one wants to do that. That's why it's so goddamn hard to get bad laws changed, even after they've shown themselves to be bad laws–the PTB aren't going to admit to having made a mistake.

  • middle seaman says:

    N_B, thanks for the lesson. I am just a lousy math guy. Let's go for a compromise, we all are for concrete results.

  • It's not inscrutable. You just have to get into the right frame of mind, which requires enlightenment. I think the first step down that path is sexy time with Latvian girl.

    Just a guess, though.


  • Maybe to return the honor, America should grab all of the wood we can find lying around, and, out of chopsticks made from it, build "The Great Mall of China."
    A mall of great length, but little width.

    And no matter what stores decide to go in, they'll all be selling shit made from there, anyway!

  • "China has its own opera though."

    Unfortunately, yes. When I first saw this on Chinese TV I was dismayed, as I thought the Cultural Revolution had taken care of that.

  • To me this goes to the heart of the problem of humans not knowing what to do with themselves. I suppose building crazy pointless shit is better than making idiotic pointless wars which is our own bored hobby.

    Anyway, I'd suggest for this turkey (and other bullshit like it) that the Money Jerkoffs just acknowledge their silliness (never happen I know) and turn it over to the Art Kids. Couldn't get any stupider or more worthless anyway, and might wind up some groovy tourist attraction!

  • Replicas of things are very popular throughout Asia. there's an amusement park in Tokyo with replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. There's a Thai resort that has a replica of Thailand built around a country map. The attractions in Las Vegas from the late 90s/early 00s with pyramid shaped hotels, replicas of the Empire State Building etc. were design to attract Asian tourists (which they did very successfully) access to the "real thing" is even more prized–when you have all these replicas, then the real places are prized as destinations, even if they're ridiculous tourist traps.

  • Isn't there a hotel in Las Vegas with a replica of Las Vegas in it? That sounds like the inscrutible occident.

  • Jebus h christ, dude… Did you look at that picture and actually think it was a fucken boat?

    I looked at it and thought: Oh cool! A building shaped like an aircraft carrier.

    You looked at it and thought: I have to tell everyone… ITS NOT REAL!

    That's fucken hileriouns. Hilleririous. Funny.

    But I love ya, man. …sad

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