Beijing: A Chinese firm has agreed to dismantle a replica of Egypt`s iconic Sphinx it built in the country after the Egyptian government complained that the structure undermined its cultural heritage.
A full-size imitation of the famous Great Sphinx of Giza was built in a theme park near the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang in north Hebei province as part of a movie set.
But Egypt has complained to the UNESCO that the replica, made of steel bars and cement, undermined the country`s cultural heritage.
The company that built the 80-metre-long and 30-metre high replica responded it would tear down the imitation after the movie is completed, state-run China Daily reported today.
Egypt, however, is not flattered by the imitation.
Mohammed Ibrahim, Egypt`s minister of antiquities, said the country has filed objections to the Chinese imitation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Ibrahim said the phony Sphinx violated UNESCO`s 1972 Convention and is "a violation of Egypt`s rights to its cultural heritage and a bad imitation that disfigures the original", according to a report in Egypt`s Al-Ahram Weekly.
In response to the criticism, a manager of the theme park who identified himself only by his surname, Shen, said the replica is only a movie prop and it will be demolished after filming is completed.
"We did not use it for commercial purposes and did not charge fees from visitors, nor do we intend to make it a tourist attraction," Shen said.
The company is sorry for any misunderstanding, he said.
The replica, much like the original 4,500-year-old limestone Sphinx southwest of Cairo, has attracted many visitors since its completion in April.
China is notorious for copying goods manufactured by the outside world. It is building up its replica reputation with a miniature Mount Rushmore, an Eiffel Tower and an entire Austrian village.
The most eye-popping is the Austrian alpine village and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hallstatt in the southern province of Guangdong, which the state media called "a bold example of China`s knock-off culture".