Santiago de Chile to build new Chinatown district

SANTIAGO – A project to build a new Chinatown district in the Chilean capital will be carried out with donations from Chinese businesses in the area, Santiago’s mayor Felipe Alessandri said Saturday.

“The idea is to bring it closer to reality … we have to help it (Chinatown) conform and give it a typical Oriental feel,” said Alessandri.

Xu Yiping, representative of Chinese businesses and key planner of the project, told Xinhua his intention is to build a beautiful Chinese district, so that local shopkeepers can work there with dignity and security.

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The project, presented this week to the Santiago Municipal Council, includes the construction of two “paifang” gates, which will mark the entrances and welcome visitors.

Signages will be put up in Spanish and Chinese while typical designs from China’s millennial artworks will adorn roofs, sidewalks and lights.

The Chinatown will be spread out more than 550 meters, starting in Alameda, Santiago’s main thoroughfare, and ending in Gorbea street, an area where dozens of Chinese shops already exist.

Alessandri estimated the project would cost 933 million pesos (1.49 million U.S. dollars) and construction would begin and end in 2019.