China has barred the construction of super high-rise buildings in smaller cities that critics say are built for vanity. The country boasts of some of the world’s highest buildings, including the 128-floor Shanghai Tower. In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural development and the Ministry of Emergency Management said cities with populations of less than three million people will be restricted from building skyscrapers taller than 150 metres (492 ft). The announcement was applauded on Chinese social media site Weibo, with many terming the super-high skyscrapers as “gimmicky.”

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Cities with larger populations can only raise buildings up to 250 metres.

Special exemptions have been allowed in cities with an urban population of less than three million that want to build a skyscraper higher than 150 metres.

Similarly, cities with an urban population of over three million can seek exemption for a skyscraper taller than 250 metres, BBC reported.

Those who approve projects that violate these new rules will held to “lifelong accountability” the statement added. Chinese architecture website’s has been holding an annual ‘Ugliest Building Survey’ for the past 12 years. The 90 entries for this year’s top 10 “ugliest” buildings include a violin-shaped church, a hotel modeled on a Russian doll, an “upside-down” house, a glass bridge connecting two mountains, and a massive gate that mimics the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

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China’s reputation for extravagant architecture has long concerned President Xi Jinping, with his government in 2015 issuing a directive against “oversized, xenocentric, weird” structures in the country. A year before, President Xi Jinping publicly criticised the construction of unusual buildings.

In June 2020, China’s housing ministry and the National Development and Reform Commission issued a circular against “copycat” buildings and skyscrapers taller than 500 meters (1,640 feet).