China ‘waterfall’ skyscraper hit by torrent of ridicule

An aerial view of a 108-meter-high (350 feet) artificial waterfall on the facade of the Liebian International Building in Guiyang in China's Guizhou province. (Reuters)
Updated 27 July 2018
0

China ‘waterfall’ skyscraper hit by torrent of ridicule

  • Latest building in China to draw ridicule
  • President called for end to 'weird architecture' in 2014

BEIJING: A skyscraper in southwest China that boasts what its owner calls the world’s largest man-made waterfall has become the latest example of over-the-top architecture to draw national ridicule.
The tower in the city of Guiyang was built with a spectacular 108-meter (350-feet) cascade tumbling down its face — but cash flow could prove a problem for the ostentatious design.
Although the Liebian International Building is not yet finished, the water feature was completed two years ago.
However it has only been turned on six times, with the owners blaming the high cost — 800 yuan ($120) per hour — of pumping water to the top of the 121-meter-high structure.
Constructed by the Ludi Industry Group, the building will house a shopping mall, offices and a luxury hotel.
Its signature artificial waterfall uses runoff, rainwater and groundwater collected in giant underground tanks.
The company said the feature pays homage to the local region’s rugged nature, but Chinese netizens have mocked the project as a waste of money.
“If they could just turn it on once every few months, the company would save on cleaning windows,” one user wrote on China’s Twitter-like social network Weibo.
China’s rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a construction boom, often including outlandish buildings that are criticized as a waste of public or shareholder funds.
The Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television features a futuristic design now nicknamed “The Big Underpants” due to its resemblance to a giant pelvis.
Web users also noted last year a building on the campus of a water-resources university gained notoriety for resembling a toilet.
The issue prompted President Xi Jinping in 2014 to call for an end to what he called “weird architecture.”


US steps up pressure on Huawei, ZTE

Updated 10 min 17 sec ago
0

US steps up pressure on Huawei, ZTE

  • Washington has been pressing allies to refrain from buying Huawei’s switches and other gear because of fears they will be used by Beijing for espionage
  • Canada detained Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei’s daughter, Meng Wanzhou, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer, in December at the request of US authorities

WASHINGTON/BEIJING: A bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced bills on Wednesday that would ban the sale of US chips or other components to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, ZTE Corp. or other Chinese telecommunications companies that violate US sanctions or export control laws.
The proposed law drew sharp criticism from China where Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called the US legislation “hysteria,” intensifying a bitter trade war between Beijing and Washington.
The bills were introduced shortly before the Wall Street Journal reported federal prosecutors were investigating allegations that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile US Inc. and other US businesses.
The Journal said that an indictment could be coming soon on allegations that Huawei stole T-Mobile technology, called Tappy, which mimicked human fingers and was used to test smartphones.
Huawei said in a statement the company and T-Mobile settled their disputes in 2017 following a US jury verdict that found “neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct by Huawei in T-Mobile’s trade secret claim.”
Hua urged US lawmakers to block the bills.
“I believe the action of these few representatives are an expression of extreme arrogance and an extreme lack of self-confidence,” Hua said.
“Actually the whole world can see very clearly that the real intent of the United States is to employ its state apparatus in every conceivable way to suppress and block out China’s high-tech companies,” she added.
The legislation is the latest in a long list of actions taken to fight what some in the Trump administration call China’s cheating through intellectual property theft, illegal corporate subsidies and rules hampering US corporations that want to sell their goods in China.
In November, the US Department of Justice unveiled an initiative to investigate China’s trade practices with a goal of bringing trade secret theft cases.
At that time, Washington had announced an indictment against Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. Ltd. for stealing trade secrets from US semiconductor company Micron Technology relating to research and development of memory storage devices.
Jinhua, which has denied any wrongdoing, was put on a list of entities that cannot buy goods from US firms.
On Capitol Hill, Senator Tom Cotton and Representative Mike Gallagher, both Republicans, along with Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representative Ruben Gallego, both Democrats, introduced the bills that would require the president to ban the export of US components to any Chinese telecommunications company that violates US sanctions or export control laws.
The bills specifically cite ZTE and Huawei, both of which are viewed with suspicion in the US because of fears that their switches and other gear could be used to spy on Americans. Both have also been accused of failing to respect US sanctions on Iran.
“Huawei is effectively an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party whose founder and CEO was an engineer for the People’s Liberation Army,” Cotton wrote in a statement. “If Chinese telecom companies like Huawei violate our sanctions or export control laws, they should receive nothing less than the death penalty — which this denial order would provide.”
The proposed law and investigation are two of several challenges that Huawei, the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment maker, faces in the US market.
In addition to allegations of sanctions-busting and intellectual property theft, Washington has been pressing allies to refrain from buying Huawei’s switches and other gear because of fears they will be used by Beijing for espionage.
Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, denied this week that his company was used by the Chinese government to spy.
Canada detained Ren’s daughter, Meng Wanzhou, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer, in December at the request of US authorities investigating an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade US sanctions against Iran.
For its part, ZTE agreed last year to pay a $1 billion fine to the United States that had been imposed because the company breached a US embargo on trade with Iran.
As part of the agreement, the US lifted a ban in place since April that had prevented ZTE from buying the US components it relies on heavily to make smartphones and other devices.