Advertising goes a bridge too far on Yangtze river

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BEIJING--Residents of Wuhan, capital city of central China's Hubei Province, are arguing whether the Wuhan Yangtze Bridge, also known as the First Yangtze Bridge, should be decorated with neon light ads and billboards. The bridge across China's longest river was built in 1957 using advanced technology from the former Soviet Union. The bridge is a symbol of Wuhan and is famous not only for being the first on the Yangtze River, but also for its artistic designs made by dozens of Chinese artists.

Recently, however, public service and commercial advertisements have appeared on the bridge, arousing debate in Wuhan on whether advertising on the bridge is proper. Until recently, the bridge was the only one of 20 to cross the Yangtze not to be plastered with ads.

Those in favor of ads on the bridge say the bridge administration authorities can raise money to maintain the bridge. Opponents argue that ads destroy the artistic image of the bridge and with it the symbol of Wuhan.

Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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