Golden Statue of Mao Zedong Built in a Remote Village in Central China

Photo: China Foto Press

The achievement of Mao Zedong as the founding father of the People Republic of China is notably great, but he was also a controversial figure. Through his Marxist-Leninist theories, his military strategies and stringent communist ideas, over 45 million people were left dead in one of the greatest catastrophic famine in the history of China. However, in modern world history, Mao is considered a visionary and just leader since throughout his leadership China economy transformed from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy, which lay the foundation as a world power. However, critics consider him a dictator, and perpetrators of human right abuse where he was said to have killed over 70 million Chinese during his tenure through starvation, execution and forced labor.

Supporters credit him of driving imperialism out of China, building it into a world power, improving health care and education, promoting women status and increasing the life expectancy of China in his 27 years tenure as the leader of Communist Party of China. In their heart, Mao was “a man of great stature,” he represents the embodiment of justice, and many people hold this kind of emotion in towards him. It’s no surprise his face appears on bank notes, and his portrait still stares out over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. In Orange Isle Hunan, there is a 32 m tall monument that depict young Mao Zedong, where sources claim that the Hunan People’s government financed its construction.

Photo: China Stringer Network/Reuters

In 2015, an anonymous wealthy businessman in a remote village in central China’s Henan province decided to erect one of the biggest statues depicting Mao Zedong. The photos of the giant statue were widely shared online in China and across the globe. The 35-meter high statue looms over empty crop field showing Mao seated with his hand crossed in his lap. Many commentators claimed that it doesn’t resemble Mao too much. Chinese media report claims that the statue was made of steel and concrete and decorated gold color and was reported to have cost over 3 million Chinese Yuan (around $ 430,000).

The statue has garnered its fair share of criticism and compliments well on Chinese social media as well as in the international press outlets. Critics termed it as an embarrassment considering that, Tongxu village where the statue sits was the epicenter of the catastrophic famine that claimed millions of lives after Mao’s campaign so called the “Great Leap Forward.”

Some argued that the millions of Yuan used to construct the effigy could have been used to alleviate poverty in the region. Villagers in the region have praised it, and many have taken pride in its erection, but online communities have argued that this is not the right way to show respect. Some have said that the statute is meaningless, and add no value to Chinese memories.

On the other hand, commentators have argued that it is good to remember Mao’s good deed as a person since his mistakes will eventually be forgotten in people’s mind, therefore, building an expensive statue is not even enough to respect his memories or commemorate him. Current Chinese Leader has heaped praise on Mao’s good deeds.

Photo: China Stringer Network/Reuters