Swiss railway seeks Chinese boulder swap

Swiss railway seeks Chinese boulder swap
Alejandro Forero Cuervo

Switzerland's Rigi Railways service is seeking to place a ten-ton boulder from China on the Rigi summit in order to attract more Chinese tourists.

Switzerland would like a piece of Emei Shan, one of four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, and will repay the gift with a similarly large piece of rock quarried from the Rigi, online news site 20 Minuten reported.

“It is a promising idea with a symbolic aspect,” director of Luzern tourism, Marcel Perren, told the website.

The rock from Rigi will have to be cut up into pieces so that it can be transported first by rail and then by ship to China.

There has been little objection to the idea from the environmental organisation WWF, whose spokesman Fredi Lüthin said the delivery of some rock was a drop in the ocean considering the high level of trade between the two countries. 

“As long as the landscape does not suffer from this exchange, there is no objection,” Urs Galliker, the president of the Pro Rigi association, told the news site.

The plan is to have the Chinese rock in place by 2014. The total cost has yet to be calculated but is due to be financed by the railway service and its sponsors.

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