The 37-meter-high golden likeness of the former Chairman of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which sparked admiration and derision in equal measure after its photos circulated on social media earlier this week, has been demolished, a Chinese state newspaper reported on Friday.
The gargantuan statue, which rose above the flat countryside of Henan province in central China, was built over the course of nine months and finally finished in December. Yet it apparently only took a few days for the statue to be removed. According to the People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, the statue was demolished for lacking approval from the government.
It purportedly cost 3 million yuan ($460,000) and was funded mostly by local entrepreneurs. Images of a half-dismantled statue, its face covered by a black tarp, circulated online on Friday following the report of its removal.
Though heavily criticized abroad for his fatal policies - such as his Great Leap Forward campaign, which is largely blamed for the deaths of millions of peasants including many in Henan province from 1958 to 1961 - Mao is revered in most of China. President Xi Jinping has referred to Mao as a "great figure" who made some "mistakes."
Born in 1893 to a farming family in Hunan province, Mao became a communist revolutionary and fought against the Western-backed Kuomintang government, led by Chiang Kai-shek, during World War II. He went on to become the founding father of the PRC.
blc/msh (AFP, dpa)