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Chairman Mao gets gold treatment in home province

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Nov 21 (Reuters) It used just to be statues of the Buddha or deities that were covered in gold in China. Now a statue of late leader Mao Zedong is getting the same treatment.

A 7-metre-high statue of Mao which has stood in Changsha in his home province of Hunan since the height of the Cultural Revolution in 1967 is being renovated by being covered in 24-carat gold plate, a state newspaper said today.

This year's 30th anniversary of Mao's death was barely remarked upon officially in China, underscoring government sensitivity about how the man who founded ''new China'' -- but then plunged it into bouts of famine and chaos -- is remembered.

That has not stopped his image appearing on everything from T-shirts to cigarette lighters, and even being hung in cars as good luck pendants, in much the same way Hong Kong and Taiwan use images of Buddha.

The Beijing News, citing an earlier report in the Changsha Evening News, did not disclose the cost of the gilding project, but said it was being met by a local pharmaceutical company.

The report also did not comment on the meaning of the plan, though there is a saying in Chinese that ''Man wears cloth; the Buddha wears gold''.

REUTERS SB VV1004

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