UPDATE: County govt denies using poverty alleviation funds for 88-meter-high statue

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/21 13:28:11

Tourists are greeted with wine when visiting Langde village of Miao ethnic group in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China's Guizhou Province, Oct. 7, 2020. (Photo by Cai Xingwen/Xinhua)

Local authorities in Jianhe county in Southwest China's Guizhou Province said Wednesday that they did not use national poverty alleviation funds in the construction of a giant statue of the Miao goddess Yang Asha, which cost 86 million yuan ($13 million) and sparked a controversy online.

The 88-meter-high statue was constructed in November 2016 and completed in July 2017. Media reports said that Jianhe county was previously a national-level poverty-stricken county, and only got rid of poverty on earlier this year.

The Culture, Radio and Television, Tourism Administration of Jianhe county made an official statement Wednesday, saying that the money for the statue did not come from national poverty alleviation funds, but was obtained by the local Yang Asha Tourism Investment Company through self-raised funds and bank financing.

The county has been developing local cultural tourism industry.

During the National Day Golden Week holidays of 2020, Jianhe received more than 220,000 tourists and achieved an overall tourism income of 209 million yuan, according to the official statement.

A government employee at Jianhe county said the government is fully committed to poverty alleviation, and has spent all funds allocated for poverty alleviation in the past three years. Some auxiliary facilities originally planned to be constructed for the statue have been suspended, Red Star News reported Wednesday. 

Yang Asha is a legendary character in Jianhe. Since 2007, the Yang Asha Cultural Festival has been held in the county every year in order to bring publicity and promote cultural tourism.

In order to develop the tourism sector, the local government invested heavily in the construction of Yang Asha hot springs park and county scenic spots, including the Yang Asha theme park, where the statue is located.

The statue was verified to be the world's largest of the Miao goddess Yang Asha by the World Record Certification Agency on December 16, 2017.

China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) has strengthened the management of urban sculptures. In September, the ministry released a notice of criticism of the giant Guan Gong statue in Jingzhou, Central China's Hubei Province, and the Shuisi Tower project in Dushan county, Guizhou Province. 

The notice pointed out that the giant Guan Gong statue damaged the style and historical context of the ancient city. It also said that the Shuisi Tower is a "cultural landmark" that was built indiscriminately and divorced from reality, and that it damaged the natural landscape.

At the same time, MOHURD issued the "Notice on Strengthening the Management of Large-scale Urban Sculpture Construction," which mentioned that large sculptures with a height of more than 10 meters or a width of more than 30 meters must be managed as important urban construction projects. The construction of large sculptures with a height of more than 30 meters or a width of more than 45 meters will be strictly controlled, it said.

Global Times

Posted in: SOCIETY

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