China cracks down on shoddy statues of Chairman Mao

Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:50am EDT
 
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China, no stranger to product quality scandals, will extend its crackdown to statues of Mao Zedong, the founder of the modern communist state, sold to tourists.

Tourists who flock to Mao's birthplace in Shaoshan in central Hunan province have complained that some statues they buy as mementos are substandard, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"Some souvenirs sold were physically disproportional while others were made with low-quality materials in a slipshod way," the report paraphrased local official Jiang Tao as saying.

"The move is expected to curtail the production and sale of low-quality Mao statues that harm the tourism market and people's feeling for the great man," Jiang said.

From July 1, all Mao statues sold in Shaoshan must meet new technical criteria or could be confiscated and destroyed, Xinhua said.

The Shaoshan statue market is worth more than 100 million yuan ($14.65 million) in sales a year, it said.

Mao remains a popular figure in China more than three decades after his death, despite the chaos of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution that he oversaw.

His face remains on the national currency and drivers often dangle his image from their rear-view mirrors for good luck.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait)