TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The “Grand Tang’s Little Kyoto," a Japanese-themed commercial promenade in the Chinese city of Dalian, closed nine days after opening due to online outrage in China and accusations of “disrespecting national dignity,” reported Sina News.
According to CNA, the promenade was situated within the Golden Pebble Beach National Tourism Resort and was a cultural tourism project of the Dalian city government. The project had a total area of 1.1 million square meters and cost NT$26 billion (US$94 million).
After the backlash, the promenade’s management announced the closure just nine days after opening. A notice was posted at the site on Wednesday (Sept. 1), saying, “The promenade’s trial operation has ended. The company will address issues that arose during the period during the closure and make further announcements regarding the promenade’s reopening.”
Apart from Japanese-style decorations and architecture, Sina News reported that businesses on the main commercial street were required to be wholly Japanese-owned or at least 50% Japanese-funded. The Dalian government took into consideration that Japanese investments in the city had moved into the service and information technology industries and tried to match the trend to better develop tourism in the city.
However, Chinese netizens bemoaned the Port Arthur Massacre, which occurred near Dalian in 1894, and complained about the “insensitivity” of celebrating Japanese culture on the 90th anniversary of the Mukden Incident.
Some commentators, however, pointed out the hypocrisy of targeting the promenade but not Shanghai Disneyland, Beijing Universal Studios, and the ongoing Shanghai Summer Festival, which also draws on Japanese culture. “Are these not cultural invasions? Has everyone forgotten about the Eight Nation Alliance? The China-U.S. trade war? The Battle of Shanghai?” asked a Weibo user going by “Cold branches and quiet birds.”
While China has always resented the invasion and massacres it suffered at the hands of Japan, anti-Japanese sentiment has been especially high lately. It led to actor Zhang Zhehan’s (張哲瀚) fall from grace and is currently haunting actress Zhao Wei (趙薇), whose disappearance from the public eye has drawn worldwide concern.