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China-themed project in upstate NY draws critics

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GEORGE M. WALSH | January 19, 2014 12:58 PM EST | AP


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — It's an audacious plan that seems out of place for the Catskills: a $6 billion China-themed cultural, business and amusement park to be built on 2,200 acres nearly two hours from New York City.

China City of America has been pitched as a showcase for the country's traditions, a boon for the distressed former Borscht Belt region and an opportunity for foreigners to invest money through an immigration program that would grant them visas and a path to citizenship.

Local reaction when the project was announced in 2012 was puzzlement and anger in the Sullivan County towns of Thompson and Mamakating.

The people behind China City have since dialed back the pace, proposing at first a for-profit college.

But they say they still intend to pursue the entire project.