French 'Spiderman' Upset at Chinese Denial

He's scaled the Eiffel Tower and shimmied up the Empire State Building, but a Chinese farmer has beaten him to the top of China's tallest building — and he's not happy.

French "Spiderman" Alain Robert had lobbied for weeks to convince Chinese authorities he should be permitted to climb the 88-story Jinmau building in Shanghai.

But Robert left China mid-February after his attempts to get the requisite permissions failed.

Now, to add insult to injury, the Shanghai Star has reported a 31-year-old farmer from East China's Anhui Province climbed the 1,380 foot-high structure on Feb. 18 — in street clothes and shoes.

Robert's ire has been directed not so much on Han, the rival climber, but on Chinese authorities for denying him the pleasure. Han's full name has not been released by local authorities.

"It's impossible to get approval," Robert told Reuters on Thursday.

A Sportsman to the End

But the French "Spiderman," whose vertiginous conquest includes Malaysia's twin Petronas Towers, the world's tallest building at 1,490-foot-high, was not particularly sporting about Han's achievement.

"Even my son who is six years old could climb that building," Robert told Reuters. He said he could climb up Jinmao Tower using only one arm.

In the course of his career, Robert has often been in trouble with civic authorities.

In April 1998, Parisian police arrested the stuntman after he scampered up the Egyptian Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde and cheekily made a call on his cell phone from the tip of the 75-foot-tall structure.

In November last year, Singapore police arrested him for attempting to scale the 920-foot Overseas Union Bank tower.

‘I Won’t Do This Again’

The Chinese authorities have not been particularly sporting about Han's climb either.

Notwithstanding the headlines he made in the local media, Han was arrested immediately after his climb.

He is due to be released on Saturday.

"If I fell, I would not only hurt myself, but also my family and maybe involve pedestrians below. I won't do this again," state media quoted him as saying.