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'Journey to the West' theme park idea

A Shanghai CPPCC member has proposed a theme park based on "Journey to the West," one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature - a fictionalized account of the legends about the Buddhist monk Xuanzang's pilgrimage to India during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).


It's best known in the West for its monkey king character.


The tale had a strong background in Chinese folk culture and value systems and would be perfect for a Chinese "Disneyland," Zhao Lihong, vice chairman of the Shanghai Writers' Association and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said during the annual session of the country's top political advisory body in Beijing.


The celestial palace, the jade pool in heaven, the dragon king temple under the sea, the fairyland in the clouds, the astonishing mountains and magnificent waters as well as demons' caves were the stuff of theme parks, Zhao said.


He also suggested the park be based on the story together with other Chinese folk legends, fairy tales and myths that have the spirit of an individual journeying toward enlightenment.


It would create a children's wonderland with the spirit of Chinese culture and endless fun that would be as popular as Disneyland, Zhao said.


He said the park should be built in a major city first and then copied by smaller towns and cities.


The Shanghai government has been discussing a theme park in Shanghai with Walt Disney for years. The two sides are still negotiating and there is no clear timetable for construction yet.


(Shanghai Daily March 11, 2009)