BEIJING - Central Nanjing has announced plans to build China's second "Buddhist City" -- a sprawling walled resort designed to attract free-spending overseas pilgrims.

"The city will cover an area of some 10 sq km (four sq miles) and contain
building structures in typical Buddhist style as well as Buddhist sculptures and
paintings. It will be enclosed by high walls," Xinhua news agency said on
Saturday.

Nanjing, capital of east-central Jiangsu province, believes the 10-year
project will attract investment of $100 million from an unspecified Hong Kong
company, Xinhua said.

Buddhist temples, which dot China’s landscape, are attracting Chinese and
foreign tourists in increasing numbers. Four renowned “Buddhist mountains” and
the major Tibetan Buddhist centres at Lhasa and Shigatse draw hundreds of
thousands of pilgrims a year.

Xinhua said the Nanjing project and one on a similarly grand scale at Sanya
on southern Hainan Island “will help spur local construction of highways,
hotels, et cetera.”

It said the Sanya project would include a Buddhist statue “designed to be
higher than the Statue of Liberty in the United States.”

Xinhua said leading architects, historians and artists would work on the
projects, which would feature temples, schools and research facilities as well
as tourist amenities.