Giant Mao statue appears in China's countryside

Giant, gold coloured Mao statue Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The statue is painted gold

A 37m-high (120ft) gold-painted statue of Chairman Mao has been built in China's countryside.

The giant homage to the late communist leader was paid for by local businessmen, who spent nearly 3 million yuan ($460,000; £313,000), reports say.

Some villagers also contributed money to the project said The People's Daily.

The giant sits in farmland in Tongxu county, Henan Province. The province was the centre of a famine in the 1950s resulting from Mao's policies.

Millions of people died in the famine triggered by the campaign, known as the Great Leap Forward.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The statue dwarfs everything but the huge crane being used to build it
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The chairman in his chair is almost complete

Some have criticised the statue online, for the perceived waste and what they see as the statue's insensitive location. But many others have leapt to its defence.

Despite being responsible for so many deaths, Mao Zedong is revered by many in China, not least by President Xi Jinping, who praises him as a "great figure".

President Xi has also attempted to centralise power in China's presidency, and has used Mao's legacy to build support, while admitting the former leader made "mistakes".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A spare giant Mao head sits on the ground near the main statue

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