The statue is approximately 12 story's high (121 feet) and weighs an estimated 604 tons (approximately Carrie Fisher's weight loss for the new Star Wars film). Ironically the effigy was constructed in the remote farmlands of Tongxu village in Henan province. Tongxu was at the epicenter of the famine that killed millions in the 1950s and early '60s as a result of Mao's so-called "Great Leap Forward" toward modernization in China.
So whose idea was this to erect a gold statue of a dictator who ruled China for nearly three decades, from 1949 until his death in 1976? During that time he is widely believed to have caused the deaths of between 40 and 70 million people by famine, forced labor, and executions. According to an unreliable source (Chinese government) a bunch of anonymous local entrepreneurs funded the project at a cost of three million yuan ($4.72 USD as of 1/7/16) taking only nine months to construct.
According to one of the anonymous local entrepreneurs (Chinese govt. agent) "There has been an enormous amount of Mao nostalgia for at least a decade already, if not longer. Memorabilia from the 1950s and 1960s (Mao badges, little red books) are on sale everywhere and popular not only with local Chinese but also with tourists," he told the Telegraph.
After doing research for this blog, I found myself feeling very uneasy. It occurred to me that the U.S. could easily follow in the nostalgic footsteps of China's disturbing homage to a leader who killed nearly 5 times more people (78 million) than Hitler (17 million) and 3 1/2 time more people than Stalin (23 million). Although we don't have a candidate (yet) that is responsible for millions of lives being lost, we do have one that if elected would be responsible for causing a mass population exodus.
Watch out Justin Trudeau. Your compassion for taking in Syrian refugees has been applauded worldwide. How many of the 200 million future U.S. ex-patriots are you willing to take in if this guy gets elected? I thought so...