The nation loves its Eiffel Tower, Great Sphinx, and White House. The reason is more complicated than you might think.
To outsiders, China's passion for derivative architecture might seem bizarre. Why make your country into a theme park? Is creativity so lacking among Chinese architects that they're left to mimic a Western, romanticized past?
These questions miss the point, according to Bianca Bosker, author of 2013's Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China. In the first thorough account of Chinese "copycat" architecture, Bosker makes the case that these buildings offer insight into the complicated aspirations of the Chinese middle class.