Before the demolition Liu Jianwu dean of the Mao Zedong research centre said entrepreneurs and residents of Henan’s Zhushigang village appeared to have dreamed up the statue in order to commemorate China’s revolutionary leader.
‘In contemporary China Mao Zedong represents the embodiment of fairness and justice’ Liu said.
‘In the hearts of ordinary people Mao represents fairness and justice.
So people hold these kinds of emotions towards him’.
Last month the state-run Global Times claimed “Mao worship” was on the rise in parts of rural China.
The newspaper pointed to the construction of temples and statues dedicated to the former leader in the provinces of Shaanxi – Guangdong and Hunan.
However the headline-grabbing Mao memorial is unlikely to have pleased Chinese authorities given the attention – and mockery – the statue drew.
‘Why not use the 3 million to improve local education?’ argued one of thousands of critics on Weibo as photos of the golden statue spread this week.
Henan province was one of the regions worst hit by China’s great famine – a catastrophe that claimed tens of millions of lives that was caused by Mao’s disastrous ‘great leap forward’ – a bid for breakneck industrialisation.
In his seminal book on the famine Tombstone Chinese writer Yang Jisheng described Henan as the epicentre of the disaster and estimated that about 3 million lives were lost there because of starvation.