Giant Chairman Mao Statue Torn Down By Embarrassed Officials

It was never approved for construction in the first place.

CHINAFOTOPRESS/GETTY IMAGES

Remember the massive golden statue of Chairman Mao that was mysteriously erected in a rural town in China earlier this week?

Well, turns out the late communist leader's reign was short-lived this time around: The extravagant statue was demolished just two days after news of its completion, per the orders of "embarrassed" local officials, The New York Times said. 

The 120-foot, gold-painted statue cost nearly half a million dollars to construct and was reportedly funded by local businessmen and villagers from Tongxu County in China's Henan province.  

But a village official told the People's Daily that the statue's construction had not been approved in the first place, according to the BBC.

Photos circulating on social media show the statue's head covered with a large black cloth as it was dismantled. Security officials and groups of unidentified men in olive green coats reportedly blocked the streets leading up to the statue as it was being torn down. 

On social media earlier this week, people criticized the statue's construction, saying that the money would have been better spent on education or health care. 

Nearly 45 million people in Henan province, where the statue was built, died from a mass famine resulting from Mao Zedong's restrictive policies in the 1950s. It continues to be one of the poorest provinces in China to this day.

Samantha Guff Editorial Fellow, The Huffington Post

The above photo's caption reads, "China's first statue of Chairman Mao, 120 ft high and estimated to be 3,000,000 yuan, was torn down on Jan. 7, according to media reports. What a shame! That is Tongxu," according to a HuffPost translation.

While it's unclear who exactly was behind the statue's construction in the first place, The New York Times reports that online chat site users suggested it was the idea of a local businessman named Sun Qingxin, who heads a machine manufacturing business and owns food processing facilities, hospitals and schools.

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