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China’s President Xi Jinping has spent $128 billion on a glittering new megacity — but the metropolis is virtually empty.

It’s a glittering city in a bowl. It’s a showcase of “ultimate Chinese modernisation”. It’s Chairman Xi Jinping’s $128 billion grand statement to the world. And it’s a ghost town.

The “Xiong’an New Area” project was dropped on a surprised Chinese Politburo and public on April Fool’s Day in 2017.

Xi called it his “personal initiative”.

He proclaimed it to be central to his “thousand-year plan of national significance”.

It arbitrarily redesigned three counties in Hebei Province, 100km southwest of Beijing, as an urban precinct.

The name Xiong’an is a combination of the Chinese words for “brave” and “peace”.

It even has a bit of Chairman Xi in it.

And it’s he who wants the 1680sq/km former lake to be “bigger than New York”.

He paints it as a “demonstration” of Chinese modernity, sustainability, and innovation.

His vision also foresees Beijing remaining the nation’s centre for politics, culture and international relations. All other “non-capital” and “non-essential” functions will be offloaded on Xiong’an to relieve congestion in the Communist Party’s seat of power

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