Huaxi, in Jiangsu Province, is not your average Chinese village.In the past few decades it has transformed from a sleepy farming town to a surreal version of utopia where every person is entitled to free healthcare and education, a luxurious home, and cooking oil.
It is home to a “World Park” filled with replicas of the world’s most iconic landmarks, from the Statue of Liberty to the Arc de Triomphe.
And it’s putting the finishing touches on a glossy green skyscraper, set to become the world’s 15th tallest building.
Of course, life in this idyllic town comes at a cost. Residents work seven days a week, often in Huaxi’s industrial plants, and if you leave, you lose it all.
Thanks to photographer Bert van Dijk, who was kind enough to share some snapshots with us.
It's known for a standard of living uncharacteristic of rural China. Imported BMWs, Cadillacs, and Mercedes are not uncommon on Huaxi's roads.
There is a catch, of course. All Huaxi residents are required to work seven days a week, often in the town's hi-tech steel and textile plants.
Huaxi is the brainchild of Wu Ren Bao, who turned the sleepy farming town into a Chinese version of Eden.
Here's a propaganda advertisement for Bao, who had the idea of putting the village on the stock exchange.
Bao didn't want any of Huaxi's residents to get wet in the rain, so he built a sprawling network of covered walkways around the village.
Of course, the 7-day workweek doesn't allow time for travel. So Bao has brought the world to Huaxi in the form of World Park.
There's apparently a replica of the Sydney Opera House, though we couldn't find a picture. Check out the gondola in the background.
The U.S. is also represented--kind of. This monument combines the White House, Capitol and Statue of Liberty.
From the skyscraper, you'll have a panoramic view of Huaxi's ornate buildings and neat public spaces.
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