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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
China to open Andersen theme park
Statue of Hans Christian Andersen in Copenhagen
Andersen's works have been translated into 100 languages
China is planning to open a $12.5m (6.5m) theme park dedicated to the famed 19th Century Danish children's author Hans Christian Andersen.

The park - due to open in Shanghai by the end of the year - will be educational and aid children's development, the project's backers say.

They said they chose Andersen because of the "impressiveness" of his stories and his "hardworking" background.

Andersen's works include The Ugly Duckling and the Emperor's New Clothes.

"All those famous tales will be found in the theme park," Su Qi, a manager of the project's investors, Shanghai Gujin Investment, told the Shanghai Daily newspaper.

"Children will be educated through playing in the theme park."

Multi-media games as well as all kinds of cultural contests related to the fairytales will reportedly be available to visitors.

Hans Christian Andersen was born in the Danish town of Odense over 200 years ago to a poor cobbler family.

His fairytales have a strong social message - teaching children that appearances can be deceiving and heroes come in the most unlikely forms.

His works, which also include The Princess and the Pea, The Little Mermaid and Tom Thumb, have been translated into 100 languages.

He was chosen as the star of the park because he is a "nice, hardworking person who was not afraid of poverty", Shanghai Gujin Investment general manager Zhai Shiqiang was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

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