Mao Zedong: Memorialised in 2,000 statues

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Media captionPhotographer Cheng Wenjun has travelled throughout China since 1997

China is celebrating the 120th anniversary of former leader Mao Zedong's birth.

Chairman Mao, the founding father of modern China, remains a hugely controversial figure and his legacy is still up for debate.

But he remains a presence in cities across China, in the form of more than 2,000 statues that were built to commemorate him.

Photographer Cheng Wenjun has travelled throughout China since 1997, taking photos of the many statues of Mao.

Image caption In 2008, people gathered at Tianfu Square in Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu to commemorate victims of a catastrophic earthquake
Image caption A steel factory in Baotou City, Inner Mongolia, was redeveloped in 2010, but Mao's statue was preserved
Image caption During the late 1980s authorities demolished statues to combat blind worship of Mao. This is the last statue standing in Zhengzhou, Henan
Image caption However, Mr Cheng says most people still respect Mao and mark his anniversary - some by burning paper money like in this image from Huangshi, Hubei in 2007
Image caption Mao statues can even be found among China's Uighur areas, like this one in Kashgar, Xinjiang
Image caption About a third of the existing Mao statues stand in China's university campuses, such as this one at East China Normal University
Image caption Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, has around seven statues just like this one
Image caption Two guards protect this Mao statue every day at Nanjie Village, Henan Province, which is known as China's last commune
Image caption In Shandong Province, some businessmen tried to make a tourist destination by building a Mao statue and exhibition hall, but the project failed

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