According to Chinese mainland media reports, the world’s largest statue of the ancient war god Guan Gong was ordered to be dismantled and relocated only five years after its completion due to restrictions imposed by the “Jingzhou Historical and Cultural City Protection Plan.”
Guan Gong is located in the ancient city of Jingzhou, Hubei, and stands at a height of around 188 feet.
The relocation of the giant bronze statue has already begun, and it will take around two months to bring it down.
Nearby residents said that the head of the Guan Gong has been completely dismantled.
The live video shot by China Central Television (CCTV) shows that the Guan Gong statue has a boom of tens of meters in front of it. The statue has been dismantled to the shoulders, revealing the skeleton of the head and shoulders. The removed copper pieces were placed on the square in front of the statue.
CCTV’s focus interview had once pointed out that the local government spent nearly $27 million to build this giant Guan Gong statue. Later, to relocate it, it invested another $24 million. So far, more than $51 million has been spent on this Guan Gong statue.
According to the “Statistical Bulletin of the National Economic and Social Development of Jingzhou City in 2020” published on the official website of the Jingzhou City Government, this construction and relocation are equivalent to the disposable income of 9,512 Jingzhou citizens for the entire year of 2020.
Wu Jin, secretary of the Jingzhou Municipal Party Committee, once said, “I think every piece of copper in the statue is a resounding slap in the face.”
The residents of Jingzhou who live next to the Guan Gongyi Garden couldn’t help but say, “It cost more than 100 million yuan to build Guan Gong statue, and now it costs more than 100 million yuan to demolish it. We feel that it is too wasteful and it is a pity.”
It is a hot topic among netizens, with one commenting, “Guan Gong lost Jingzhou a second time,”
Some said it is “a huge waste” to cover and dismantle, “just a word, the people look distressed, it’s too wasteful.”
Others said, “How many people’s hard-earned money? It was wasted like this! Should we investigate deeply how much of the more than 300 million yuan has flowed into a private pocket? What is the use of slapped slaps if no one is responsible?”
The famous historical general Guan Yu was once stationed in Jingzhou, after Lu Meng captured Jingzhou, Guan Yu and his son Guan Ping were beheaded, and later generations made Guan Yu a martial sage. Jingzhou Tourism Investment Development Group Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Hubei Cultural Tourism Investment Group Co., Ltd., seized this business opportunity to invest in the construction of Guan Gongyi Park on the southeast side of Jingzhou Ancient City.
Public information shows that Jingzhou Guan Gongyi Park began construction in February 2014 and opened in June 2016. On the day when Guan Gongyi Park held the opening ceremony, Wang Ling, then deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Hubei Provincial People’s Congress, Xiao Xuming, vice chairman of the Hubei Provincial People’s Congress, Li Xinhua, secretary of the Jingzhou Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, Yang Zhi, mayor of Jingzhou City, Liu Jungang, general manager of Hubei Cultural Tourism Investment Group, and Guan Gong Six people joined designer Han Meilin to unveill the Guan Gongyi Garden.
But unexpectedly, in 2020, negative news surrounding Guan Gongyi Park due to illegal construction of statutes, foundation settlement, and failure to pass the fire protection inspection continued to attract significant attention from the outside world.
If the removal of the statue of Guan Gong pierced the hearts of many Jingzhou people and felt like a strong slap on the face, before that, the Chinese people, especially those who value virtue, who believe in God and Buddha, also had to witness a heartbreaking incident when the CCP demolished the world’s largest cliff-carved Guanyin statue.
On February 2, 2019, government officials in Pingshan county, which falls under the jurisdiction of Shijiazhuang city in northern Hebei Province, detonated and destroyed a standing Guanyin statue, which was carved out of a cliff and measured 190 feet (57.9 meters) in height.
This Guanyin statue, dubbed “Dripping-Water Guanyin,” was the world’s highest standing Guanyin statue carved out of a solid cliff.
The monument was built in the Wuwushui Ecological Scenic Region, a national 4A-level scenic area and a significant historical and cultural landmark protected by Hebei Province.
However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been cracking down on religious venues and open-air religious statues around the country since last year, ostensibly to combat the commercialization of Buddhism. Famous outdoor statues have been covered or dismantled in every location.
The most severe crackdown has been on giant religious statues in picturesque regions.
On January 30, more than 20 officials, including province, municipal, and county government leaders and local public security personnel, gave orders to demolish the Dripping-Water Guanyin. They ordered the entire Huang’an Temple scenic area to be blocked off, forbidding people from entering, leaving, or taking photographs, as well as issuing a warning that anyone who interferes with the demolition operation will be arrested.
According to a worker who took part in the destruction, the government commissioned expert blasting personnel to devise a plan and instructed employees to destroy the Guanyin statue’s base with excavators. After that, the workers excavated a hole in the mountain behind the Guanyin statue that was about 65 feet (20 meters) deep. The upper half of the Guanyin statue was blown to bits on Feb. 2 with a tremendous roar. In a matter of seconds. The Guanyin monument was destroyed beyond recognition, leaving a pile of wreckage in its aftermath.
Government officials ordered the building team to thoroughly detonate and destroy the remaining lower half of the Guanyin monument a few days later, to prevent the Guanyin statue from being reconstructed or salvaged in any way.
According to a source, the use of explosives to remove the cultural icon was a direct command from the CCP Central Committee.
“Throughout the country, people have been prohibited from worshipping or making offerings to Buddha statues,” the source told Bitter Winter.
It came down in a matter of seconds, yet the Dripping-Water Guanyin monument took nearly five years to create, costing around 17 million RMB (approximately $2.54 million). The statue drew a considerable number of tourists who came to see it or pay their respects. Two years later, it was demolished, resulting in a great loss for the scenic area and local economy.
According to one local villager, around 10,000 people come here each day during each festival or holiday to worship or redeem their vows. This is something the CCP refuses to allow.
“The common people worship and praise Buddha, but they don’t praise the Communist Party. How can the Communist Party be happy about that?” said a local villager. “As you don’t believe in the Communist Party, the Communist Party will tear down your Buddha statue.”