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China’s Nanjing Train Station Design Sparks Outrage for Resembling a Sanitary Pad, Ignites Heated Discussions Online

A proposed design for the North Nanjing train station has become a hot topic among Chinese internet users, but not for the reasons the designers might have hoped. Intended to reflect the city’s famous plum blossoms, the design has instead been likened to a sanitary pad by social media commentators.

This unusual comparison has triggered widespread discussion across various platforms, amassing millions of views. On Weibo, one of China’s largest social media sites, the public’s reaction has ranged from amusement to criticism. “This is a giant sanitary pad. It’s embarrassing to say it looks like a plum blossom,” one user commented, capturing the sentiment of many others.

Another Weibo user questioned the oversight of the architects: “Why can we all tell it is a sanitary pad immediately, but the architects can’t?” Meanwhile, some have used the controversy to highlight broader social issues, with one commentator jokingly suggesting the design should prompt a conversation about period shaming, calling it “ahead of its time.”

Despite the mixed reactions online, the project has received official approval. The Nanjing Daily, a state-owned newspaper, reported that the preliminary design was greenlit by the government of Jiangsu province and the China State Railway Group. The station, with an estimated cost of approximately 20 billion Chinese yuan ($2.7 billion), is set to span an area of 37.6 square kilometers and is expected to commence construction in the first half of 2024.

This incident is not the first time that architecture in China has drawn unexpected reactions. The headquarters of state broadcaster CCTV in Beijing, for example, has been famously dubbed the “big boxer shorts” due to its unique architectural shape.

Feature Image: The design of the new North Nanjing station| Courtesy: BBC

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