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Taipei replica in remote Chinese province fans Taiwan invasion fears

Satellite images verified by FRANCE 24 reveal that China has built a replica of Taipei’s presidential district in remote Inner Mongolia, fuelling speculation that Beijing intends to use the site as a training ground to prepare for a future invasion of Taiwan.

The satellite images show a detailed replica of the heart of Taipei – albeit surrounded by the arid landscape of Inner Mongolia instead of Taiwan’s lush vegetation.

First posted on social media by a Taiwanese data analyst, on March 26, they were later picked up by the website Taiwan News, under the ominous headline: “China creates Taipei mockup to train for invasion”.

FRANCE 24 was able to verify the existence of the mockup, located some 1,200 kilometres west of Beijing.

Sim Tack, an analyst at intelligence firm Force Analysis, which monitors conflict zones and has access to satellite imagery, said construction of the replica began in March 2021 and lasted approximately one year.

He said the site features buildings and façades “that are inspired by what you can see in Taipei, without having exactly the same size or shape".

An area of interest

The satellite images reveal a layout of streets strongly resembling the Bo’ai Special Zone, a restricted area in Taipei’s Zhongzheng District that houses Taiwan’s most important state buildings, including the presidential palace, the supreme court, the ministry of justice and the central bank of Taiwan.

The Bo’ai Special Zone is subject to specific regulations, including a strict ban on overflight.

In this respect, Taiwan may not be the only target on Beijing’s mind.


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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