Droopy Beijing duck gets a breath of fresh air

BEIJING Sun Sep 8, 2013 11:38am BST

An inflatable Rubber Duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman, is being set up next to a high-speed railway viaduct bridge on a lake at the venue of the 9th China International Garden Expo in Beijing, September 5, 2013. The 18-metre-high inflatable sculpture, which made its first public appearance in the city on Friday, will be shown at the expo until September 23, after which it will be transported to the Summer Palace to display for another month, local media reported. Picture taken September 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

An inflatable Rubber Duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman, is being set up next to a high-speed railway viaduct bridge on a lake at the venue of the 9th China International Garden Expo in Beijing, September 5, 2013. The 18-metre-high inflatable sculpture, which made its first public appearance in the city on Friday, will be shown at the expo until September 23, after which it will be transported to the Summer Palace to display for another month, local media reported. Picture taken September 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - It would never have been allowed on the table in the home of Peking duck, but at least a giant rubber duck gracing a Beijing park will now have the taut, crisp skin required of its culinary peer after an urgent injection of air.

The 18-metre (60-foot) tall duck, on show at the Beijing International Expo, appeared wrinkled and its beak drooped, prompting a barrage of ridicule on the Internet, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

The duck, a copy of one designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman that had been on show in Hong Kong harbour in May, was reinflated late on Friday and its beak reassembled in an eight-hour operation, the report said.

"There were some flaws when inflating the duck, and we have adjusted it overnight," Zeng Hui, deputy manager of the Beijing Design Week Organizing Committee, told Xinhua.

The snafu prompted one netizen to joke that the duck wanted to look like a chicken so that it would avoid the city's Peking Duck restaurants, where specially bred ducks have air pumped through them after being slaughtered to help produce the dish's crispy skin.

(Reporting by Jonathan Standing; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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