A monument to Jesus in the city of Mao

By Didi Kirsten Tatlow
The church at Xingsha Ecological Park in Changsha, China. About 260 feet tall, it is bigger than the largest statue of Mao Zedong in China, which is nearby. Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
CHANGSHA, China---Sweeping heavenward like an enormous glass-and-metal ski jump, a new Protestant church dominates the crumbled earth, freshly planted trees and unfinished water features of a suburban park under construction in Changsha. Although the Communist state suppressed religion as superstition until after Mao’s death in 1976, it recognized five faiths — Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam — which are managed through “patriotic” associations. About 260 feet tall and topped by a cross, the Xingsha Church is bigger even than the biggest statue of Mao Zedong in China, less than 10 miles west of here. On Tangerine Island, in the broad Xiang River, the massive granite head and shoulders of the revolutionary leader rear up as if surveying the world. But at 105 feet, the sculpture is still less than half the height of the church. [More]
The sculpture of Mao, who spent his youth in Changsha, rises 105 feet on Tangerine Island in the Xiang River. Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times