UK & World News

  • 14 December 2013, 2:06

China Marks Mao's Birth With 10m Gold Statue

A gold statue of China's Mao Zedong worth more than 100m yuan (10m) has been unveiled to mark what would have been the communist leader's 120th birthday.

The 80cm-tall ornament weighs more than 50kg and shows Chairman Mao, as he is commonly referred to in China, reclining in a chair with his legs crossed.

It is not known who paid for the figurine, which sits on a base of white jade and is accented with precious stones.

The statue, which has gone on display in the southern town of Shenzhen, took a team of 20 artists more than eight months to complete.

It will eventually be moved about 500 miles north to the Mao Zedong memorial in Shaoshan, China National Radio reported.

There have been conflicting signals from China's leadership about how to celebrate the anniversary of Mao's birth on December 26.

Officials in Hunan province have spent more than 15 billion yuan (1.5bn) on high-speed railway lines, improved roads and a renovated tourist information centre.

However, President Xi Jinping, who has slashed spending on lavish banquets and over-indulgences since taking office, has demanded celebrations be "solemn, simple and pragmatic".

Earlier this year, officials were criticised by some Chinese for spending 70m yuan (7m) on a huge bronze viewing tower built in the shape of a puffer fish, as well as 570,000 yuan (57,000) on a giant vase of flowers.

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