Wretched Excess

Pompadour slicked perfectly into place, Huang Qiaoling gazes lovingly at his palatial home. Here, amid hectares of overgrown rice paddies in the eastern city of Hangzhou, Huang has built a display worthy of his splendid success: a $10 million replica of the White House. Huang, one of the richest men in China, wanders blissfully through a hall filled with portraits of America's Presidents, then strides into the most hallowed room of all—the Oval Office. Every detail has been immaculately reproduced, from the $60,000 baroque sofa to the U.S. presidential seal on the carpet—naturally, made in China. "Everything you see here is...

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