Chinese citizens are extremely upset after a Ferrari sports car drove across Nanjing's ancient landmark, leaving tire tracks and possibly permanently damaging it.
Reports indicated that the stunt at the Zhonghua Gate, also known as the Gate of China, in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, had been planned by officials. Chinese residents across the country expressed their dissatisfaction and extreme discontent with that rumor, reported the New York Post.
Witnesses saw a Ferrari 458 Italia lifted by a crane to the top of the 600-year-old wall. A dealer for the Ferrari proceeded to perform tricks with the vehicle, such as donuts on top of the wall, leaving tire marks on the ancient landmark, reported the Christian Science Monitor.
However, the car company issued a statement saying that what happened in China was not authorized, reported the Post. Ferrari said that a member of the staff from Nanjing Kuaiyi Automobile Trading Co. Ltd., drove the vehicle on his own. The car dealer was planning on holding a new car exhibition in the area.
City authorities said the car was supposed to part of a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of Ferrari's entry into China.
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Ferrari also expressed deep regret for what they described as an accident. They said it was completely unacceptable that something like this could happen. Ferrari said that the company has always held great respect toward Chinese traditional culture and regards the protection of historical relics as of great importance, reported CNN.
The affected section of the Gate of China dates back to the Ming Dynasty. It is said to be among the best preserved sections of the wall.
We cannot tolerate that Ferrari used the ancient city gate to make a show and ruined it. If you do not respect the city, you do not deserve to stay here, said one Nanjing residents, reported AFP.
China's official news agency, Xhinhua, showed video of a cleaning crew attempting to scrub the dark, black tire marks from the bricks. The news agency identified the car cost six million yuan, or $950,000. The organizers of the event spent approximately $12,000 to hold the ceremony, reported AFP
A six million yuan Ferrari versus a 600-year-old ancient city wall... What are the Nanjing authorities doing? So sad, said another resident, reported AFP.
The Nanjing government reprimanded officials who were responsible for event. However, it could be too late for the ancient city wall.
The (structural) damage may be invisible at the moment, but very detrimental, Yang Guoqing, a preservation expert, reported the AFP.