Will China Take Neverland?

China has taken jobs and even the Hummer from the United States.  Tom Qian of  Shanghai Daily reports that Qiu Xuefan, vice director of Wenzhou Chamber of Commerce, has announced plans to construct a smaller version of Neverland  at Xianghua Town of Chongming County, which is about an hour drive from downtown Shanghai.  The project which will cover  667,000 square meters is expected to cost 100 million yuan (US$14.6 million) and be completed in a year.

Meanwhile Gerald Posner of the   Daily Beast reports that a senior executive of Colony Capital which controls the original Neverland states that it will not be used as a  Michael Jackson museum.

No wonder China is growing economically while the U.S. is declining.  Chinese business leaders recognize opportunities that Americans do not.

Michael Jackson may or  may not have been the “greatest entertainer of all time” as his supporters claim, but he continues to be very popular.  His fans are at least as dedicated to him as Elvis Presley’s fans are to him.   Elvis Presley’s home Graceland continues to attract his fans 32 years after his death.  Paul Simon even wrote a popular song about Graceland.

Opening a museum to Michael Jackson isn’t about Jackson, it’s about his fans.   They deserve  a place  they can go to  feel close to him and remember him.

Those who aren’t sentimental or dislike Jackson should consider the economics.   A Michael Jackson memorial would create jobs.  People would work at the site.  Others would provide services to those going to and from the site.  Visitors from other states and countries would want lodgings and meals.

The Chinese recognize the potential value of a Neverland.    Why should  Michael’s fans have to travel to China to visit his memorial when we have the original?

If Colony Capital cannot recognize the value of Neverland, perhaps the citizens of California could pass a referendum to preserve the site and even make it a state park.  The referendum could authorize issuing bonds to finance purchase of the site by the state of California.  The bonds would be repaid through admission fees, memorabilia sales, etc.  The bonds might be so popular they would become a collector’s item themselves.

California legislators who want Michael’s  fans to vote for them might want to go ahead and authorize the project without waiting for a referendum.  Any excess fees from “Michael Jackson State Park” could be used to fund other state park activities.  Then there are  the tax revenues that tourism would generate.  Perhaps Congress could provide funds to upgrade roads to the site.

American music companies have often accused China of pirating American CD’s etc.  Will American apathy allow China to pirate Neverland too?  I see no harm in China providing a duplicate for Michael’s Asian fans who cannot afford to come to the United States.  Americans shouldn’t have to travel to China to visit Neverland.

China’s Neverland won’t be ready for a year.  The original  already exists and could be opened at any time.


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