The Chinese authorities appear to have destroyed a giant gold statue of Mao Zedong after it became the subject of online mockery around the world.
The 120ft (37m) tall construction started to take shape around nine months ago, according to Chinese media reports, but unconfirmed photos circulating online on Friday appeared to show a huge chunk torn from its centre and a black sheet draped over its head.
Images of the almost-complete Chairman Mao, towering over fields in rural Henan province, went viral three days earlier after they appeared on a Chinese news website.
That giant Golden Mao statue? They've killed it. Killed it to death. pic.twitter.com/b20wSVWQ9H— Alistair Coleman (@scaryduck) January 8, 2016
It's not known if the fact it became an international laughing stock had any role in the statue's demise. A website linked to the state-run People's Daily quoted local officials saying the project "was not registered or approved".
The statue was funded by local businessmen, and cost around 3 million yuan (£313,000). As its fame spread it met with some criticism, with farmers and villagers quoted as saying the money could have been spent better on education and other public services.
best take yet I've seen on the golden mao statue pic.twitter.com/cK5SzPAxcL— Asa (@roastfacekilla) January 5, 2016
It could be my MN state fair-going background, but that new Mao statue in Henan appears to be made out of butter. https://t.co/eXBM2OtjPb— Rob Schmitz (@rob_schmitz) January 5, 2016
The Chinese market melted down today, but fear not, work continued on the giant gold Mao statue pic.twitter.com/HEzqhAT70e— TheBurdetteLawFirm (@TheBurdetteLawF) January 5, 2016
The exact location of the statue, in Tongxu county, was more or less the epicentre of a famine which killed millions in the late 1950s, partly as a result of Mao's policies.
China's extraordinary 'nail houses'
China's extraordinary 'nail houses'
1/8 Nail houses in China
A general view shows the demolition of a 'nail house', the last house in the area, at a construction site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The owners of the house had filed but lost a lawsuit against the developer of the land to seek more compensation before agreeing to the demolition of their home. The land will be used for a high-rise apartment project. Chinese media have since seized on disputes between developers and owners of so-called 'nail houses', whose owners have stuck to their ground and resisted demolition, holding up development projects in the world's fastest-growing major economy
2/8 Nail houses in China
A half-demolished apartment building standing in the middle of a newly-built road thanks to a Chinese couple that refused to move in Wenling, in eastern China's Zhejiang province. Luo Baogen, 67, and his 65-year-old wife have waged a four-year battle to receive more than the 41,300 USD compensation offered by the local government of Daxi, a Chinese newspaper said. The phenomenon is called a 'nail house' in China, as such buildings stick out and are difficult to remove, like a stubborn nail
3/8 Nail houses in China
A 'nail house', the last building in the area, sits in the middle of a road under construction in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. According to local media, the owner of the house didn't reach an agreement with the local authority about compensation of the demolition
4/8 Nail houses in China
A three-storey 'nail house', the last building in the area, with a Chinese national flag on its rooftop is seen in the middle of a newly-built road in Luoyang, Henan province. According to local media, the house owner did not agree with government's compensation plan for relocation and refused to move out
5/8 Nail houses in China
A six-floor villa is viewed on the construction site in the central business district of Shenzhen. Choi Chu Cheung, the owner of the villa, and his wife Zhang Lian-hao, refused to accept the compensation offered by the developer who plans to build a financial centre on the site. The couple are demanding that the developer compensate them with property similar in size or raise the offer from 6,500 yuan ($840) to 18,000 yuan ($2,327) per square metre
6/8 Nail houses in China
A 'nail house', the last house in this area, stands in the centre of a construction site which will be developed as a new apartment zone in Chongqing Municipality. The owners of the house insist in seeking more compensation before agreeing to the demolition of their home, local media reported
7/8 Nail houses in China
A view of where 75-year-old Yao Baohua's house (C) still stands in the rubble of a vast development site in the city of Changzhou in China's eastern Jiangsu province. The Yao home is the last one standing in the rubble of a vast development site in Changzhou, a Chinese 'nail house', the moniker earned for both their physical appearance and their owners' stubborn resistance
8/8 Nail houses in China
Chinese authorities carry sticks as they stand guard while workers demolish houses which are claimed illegal by the local government in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province. Land seizures have been a problem for years in China, and have given rise to the term 'nail house' to describe a holdout tenant or occupant, likening them to a nail refusing to be hammered down, and violent resistance has been reported in numerous cases as ordinary people take matters into their own hands to resist eviction they deem unfair
Yet the leader is still revered as a hero by many Chinese citizens, including President Xi Jingping, who has previously praised the late dictator as a "great figure."Reuse content