Chinese communists disciplined for letting Mao statue topple over

The photograph was widely circulated online, prompting a response from the local authorities.
PHOTO: Weibo

A couple of grass-roots Communist Party members from northern China have been disciplined after a statue of Mao Zedong was photographed lying face down surrounded by overgrown bushes.

The government of Fuping county in Hebei province issued a statement late on Tuesday that the party chief of Huashan village, where the statue used to stand, had been given a "serious warning" for failing to protect the statue.

His immediate superior, the party head of Chengnanzhuang township, also received a warning.

The disciplinary action came after a picture of the statue lying amid the shrubbery was widely circulated online, triggering an angry response from Mao's admirers.

The village has become a revolutionary tourist destination because the founding father of the People's Republic spent some time there in 1948.

The local government said on Sunday that the statue, showing Chairman Mao with a clenched right fist, had been erected in 2017.

It was removed from its plinth earlier this month after cracks appeared in the reinforced plastic model and its colour started to fade.

The government said it been leaning against a wall after its removal on May 3, but was blown over by strong gusts of wind several days later.

It has now been sent to the manufacturer for repair.

The local officials were punished for "lacking ideological understanding" of the removal, failing to give enough protection to the statue and being careless in their daily work, the local government said.

Besides penalties for the individuals, the township party committee was also ordered to undertake self-criticism - a practice that began under Mao.

Statues of Chairman Mao used to be a common scene all across China, many of them built in the late 1960s at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

Although many of them were removed after his death when the government began the process of reform and opening up, they can still be seen in spaces such as town squares and university campuses. Mao's face also remains on the country's banknotes and a large portrait of him hangs in Beijing overlooking Tiananmen Square.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post

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