Chinese official sacked over controversial US$1m sculpture
The Party secretary and director of the Housing and Construction Bureau in Lushan County, central China's Henan Province, has been removed from his post after media questioned whether it was necessary to spend 7.15 million yuan (US$980,440) to build a gigantic statue of a Chinese romantic folk legend.
The "Cowherd and Weaving Maid" sculpture was unveiled on August 22, China's Qixi Festival this year, in Lushan County in the city of Pingdingshan. Since then, the sculpture has triggered wide controversy due to its cost and design.
On the evening of August 29, Lushan County issued a notice stating that a joint investigation team had been established to look into the project design, engineering costs, and bidding procedures. The leader who was directly responsible for the project was sacked and significant administrative penalties have been imposed on the relevant staff member.
The sculpture was criticized by netizens for being "expensive and ugly." Local residents expressed confusion over the construction of such a statue, at such a high cost, shortly after Lushan County was officially removed from the poverty-stricken county list in 2020.
Some netizens pointed out that the statue was extremely similar to another sculpture in Changsha, the provincial capital of Hunan Province, which was completed in January 2021.
Previously, when a reporter called the Lushan county government office to inquire about concerns raised over the sculpture, an employee said they had "no idea" several times and that the local authority claimed that the bidding process for the project was legal, compliant, fair, impartial, and open.