China has destroyed the 120-foot-tall statue of Mao Zedong, the much-loved and much-feared Communist revolutionary who built modern China, was said to have cost entrepreneurs half a million dollars to build.
That the statue was built in the rural Henan Province, one of the areas worst hit by famines during Mao’s radical industrialization and collectivization projects, led some to feel that it was inappropriate.
When photographs of the golden statue appeared online this week, they quickly spread through social media — prompting some outrage, but mostly mockery.
Mao is still widely respected in China, and his image has become something of a kitsch icon, sold on T-shirts in tourist areas.
However, there have been signs that the state has become concerned about his continuing sway over people in the nation.
In late December, state newspaper Global Times published an article that warned that Mao was being worshiped “alongside other folk deities like the Jade Emperor and the God of Wealth,” with people in rural areas building temples and praying that he will help them “get rid of ill fortune, bear a baby boy or get rich quick.”