It’ll cost the Chinese city of Jingzhou a whopping $20 million to relocate a 190-foot-tall statue of Chinese warrior-god Guan Yu.
The eye-watering sum drew the ire of local anti-graft officials, who released a sharply-worded statement on September 7 calling for more oversight when approving “large projects” – like the construction of this colossal bronze statue back in 2016.
Guan Yu, a famed Three Kingdoms-era warrior, is worshipped and venerated in the country as a god of war.
“It’s a waste of more than 300 million yuan ($46 million). First, it was constructed illegally, and then removed,” local officials said of the statue in the central Chinese province of Hubei.
This was because the titanic version of the Chinese general cost around $26 million to build in 2016. Additionally, it is located in an area where city regulations ban buildings from being taller than 78 feet, but the statue’s advocates managed to wriggle around a regulatory loophole to get its construction greenlit.
The statue was touted at its unveiling as the world’s biggest bronze statue of the general, per the South China Morning Post.
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But not everyone was a fan. The Chinese central government said that the statue “ruined Jingzhou’s historical appearance and culture,” and The Jingzhou Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development opted to move it from its original location at Guan Gong Park last December. Some of the city’s residents also complained that the attraction was an eyesore, telling local broadcaster Sina News that “Jingzhou locals don’t go there.”
Images circulated on Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like platform, of the war god being “decapitated” while workers toiled to remove it, piece by piece. The humongous statue is being shifted to Dianjiangtai, a less-conspicuous tourist precinct around five miles from its current location.
At the time of the Guan Yu statue’s construction, it joined the leagues of other mega-statues in the country. These range from behemoth Buddhas to gargantuan goddesses but also include more bizarre statements, like a massive Chairman Mao, a full-sized replica of Egypt’s sphinxes, and a mammoth Marilyn Monroe.
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According to Insider, some Chinese cities haven’t let up on the big-statue-boom just yet,
Last September, Ulanqab, China’s “potato city,” floated an idea to construct a statue of a hulking potato twice the size of a regular building to celebrate its heritage.