(p. B1) ZHUSHIGANG, China — Just two days after images of a giant gold-colored statue of Mao in the bare fields of Henan Province spread across the Internet, the statue was gone — torn down apparently on the orders of embarrassed local officials.
Villagers said demolition teams arrived on Thursday morning [January 7, 2016], and by Friday morning [January 8, 2016], only a pile of rubble remained.
The 120-foot-tall statue, which local media reports said cost $465,000, had been under construction for months and was nearing completion when it began to attract attention.
Some commenters on social media denounced the extravagance of the colossus in a poor, rural part of China, where the money might have been better spent on education or health care.
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Others pointed out the historical irony of erecting the statue in one of the provinces worst hit by the famine caused by Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward.
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Statues of Mao, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, were once ubiquitous in China, and many survive. President Xi Jinping has often praised Mao as a model for China today, saying Mao’s era was one when officials were selfless and honest.
But some of his policies were disastrous, including the forced agricultural collectivization and industrialization of the Great Leap Forward, which historians blame for a famine in which tens of millions of people died.
For the full story, see:
DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW. “An Outcry Helps Topple a Mao Statue 120 Feet Tall.” The New York Times (Sat., JAN. 9, 2016): A4.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed dates, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date JAN. 8, 2016, and has the title “Golden Mao Statue in China, Nearly Finished, Is Brought Down by Criticism.”)