「中国で空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。」 is a special usage of Japanese.

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Aug 20, 2011 09:53 Japanese_language
Recently, I wrote on lang-8 that the Japanese mass media occasionally uses strange Japanese in headlines in the news, but I was not able to remember the examples. I just found one.

中国で空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。年内のオープンを目ざしている (a)
(Somebody is refurbishing an aircraft carrier into a luxury hotel. He is aiming to open it within the year.)

According to the standard grammar, you’d better write:
中国で空母を豪華ホテルに改装中。(b)
中国で空母を豪華ホテルに改装している。(b2)
中国で空母が豪華ホテルに改装されている。(c)
I think (a) is a shortening of (c) for news headlines. I think the expression, “……が○○中”, came from English “... is in ...”.
Also, (b) is grammatically correct and as short as (a), but (b) is not the best. This is because “を” generally makes readers feel a lack of “who are doing”, so those sentences are unstable.

However, I think (a) is as strange as (b). (a) sounds like 空母が何かを豪華ホテルに改装している (An aircraft carrier is refurbishing something into a luxury hotel.). If you write as follows, it will sound better.
中国で空母が豪華ホテルに改装中だ。(d)
中国で目下空母が豪華ホテルに改装中だ。(d2)
中国で目下空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。(d3)
They are lengthy as headlines, though.
(d2) is more natural than (d). The only difference is “目下”, which means “at present”. (d3) is still more natural than (d) and (a).
中国で現在空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。(d4)
(d4) is also more natural than (d) and (a).

However, (d2), (d3), and (d4) are difficult to read, so you’d better put a comma after 目下 or 現在, though it will make the sentences more and more lengthy.

中国で空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。(a)
中国で目下,空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。(d3-2)
中国で現在,空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。(d4-2)

Moreover, the following is even easier to read.
中国で,目下,空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。(d3-3)
中国で,現在,空母が豪華ホテルに改装中。(d4-3)
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