A cultural project costing $4.2 billion will be built in Shandong province, home of ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, in a bid to revive traditional values including Confucianism, authorities said over the weekend.
The "Chinese Cultural Symbolic City", touted as the first of its kind in the country, will cover 300 sq km with an estimated investment of at least 30 billion yuan ($4.2 billion), Shandong governor Jiang Daming said at a news conference on Saturday in Beijing.
The project will be in the city of Jining, one of the cradles of Chinese civilization and the birthplace of Confucius and his major disciple Mencius.
The new cultural city will incorporate the county-level city of Qufu, ancestral home of Confucius; Zoucheng, home of Mencius; and the Jiulong Mountain range between the two cities.
"The overall layout of the Symbolic City will combine the three areas, in which historical and cultural resources will be effectively protected, improved and integrated," Jiang said.
"It should be a masterpiece of Chinese history and civilization, with a rich cultural tradition benefiting generations to come," he said.
Xu Jialu, vice-chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, said: "The construction of the Symbolic City is not only a project of Shandong and China, but a Chinese gift to the whole world."
"I hope the initial construction of the project can be started before 2010," Xu, who is also the director-general of the expert advisory committee of the project, told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.
Designs and plans for the city are being solicited from the public till September, officials said.
Entries will be selected based on criteria that include reflecting the common values and aesthetics of the Chinese, and designs containing both modern and classic characteristics, he said.
There will be a top prize of 2 million yuan, followed by three first prizes of 1 million yuan each, and six second and nine third prizes.
Submissions that make it to the final round will also be presented to the public.
President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and many other Party and top officials have paid great attention to the project.
All design plans will be reviewed by a panel made up of about 30 top artists, sinologists and architects in China, Jiang said.
More information can be found on the project's official website at www.ccsc.gov.cn.
Source: China Daily