The Shock of the New

For an aspiring tourist mecca, the Oriental Buddha Kingdom Theme Park in the lush mountains of Leshan is doing a pretty woeful job. Its main attraction, a 37-meter replica of one of the famed Bamiyan buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, is mysteriously covered by a huge cloth, with only its giant feet poking out. When tourists try to approach the statue, security guards shoo them away. Instead, would-be guides shove pictures of the park's lesser draws under the few visitors' noses—perhaps a tour of a couple of fake, mildewy buddhas or a trip to a viewing pavilion that looks...

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