Palace replica opens at Chinese movie studios, despite official complaints

Authorities at the Old Summer Palace in Beijing tried to block the copy from being built

A controversial replica of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing has opened at the Hengdian World Studios Film Company in Eastern China’s Zhejiang province. The recreation was revealed to the public on 10 May despite complaints from officials at the original palace, who threatened to sue the film company over intellectual property rights.

Meanwhile, the website has looked at the arguments against the recreation. First, it reports, the Old Summer Palace is not protected under national copyright laws since the creators of 95% of the buildings died more than 50 years ago. The palace administration told Xinhua News agency that the site’s architecture was “unique and cannot be replicated”. This is true to an extent: if the modern methods used to make the replica altered the Qing Dynasty palace in any way that would lead the viewer to misunderstand the historical record, it could violate protection rights.