Statue of Soong Ching Ling towers in controversy

Updated: 2011-11-07 13:22

By Yan Weijue (

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A 24-meter tall stone statue of one of the most prominent women in China's modern history has become embroiled in controversy after the foundation responsible for the construction reportedly denied it resembled Soong Ching Ling.

Statue of Soong Ching Ling towers in controversy

A 24-meter stone statue of Soong Ching Ling (1893-1981) is going up in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan province, on Nov 3, 2011. [Photo/CFP]

The quarrel over the sculpture in Henan province of Soong, also known as Madame Sun Yat-sen, first emerged on Nov 3 when the Fujian-based Quanzhou Daily claimed it was customized by the Henan Provincial Soong Ching Ling Foundation to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution that toppled the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

However, an employee of the foundation surnamed Zhao on Friday refused to acknowledge it has anything to do with the former vice president of the People's Republic of China.

Instead they claim it is "the Daughter of Yellow River", according to Henan Business Daily, who questioned the purpose and funding of the statue with a big picture on the front page under the striking headline "Who is she?"

When pressed by reporters employees excused themselves from a formal explanation by saying that all authorities had gone off work for the weekend.

While the public awaited a response from the foundation, a college official at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in Guangdong province claimed the image of the statue is really Soong Ching Ling and was designed by the college.

Statue of Soong Ching Ling towers in controversy
A combination picture of the design (L) of Soong Ching Ling and the statue.

"Judging from the photo it is actually a statue of her (Soong Ching Ling). It essentially follows the design of Professor Liang Mingcheng (from our college)." Jiang Jiantao, deputy director of the school's sculpture department, told Guangzhou Daily on Sunday.

According to Jiang, the construction of the statue is based on a deal inked by the college and the Henan Provincial Soong Ching Ling Foundation in July, 2010, with the former in charge of the design and art direction during the whole process.

"But the two sides were divided on several matters, and the foundation halted the contract unilaterally." Jiang said. "And then we (the college) engaged in the affair no more, believing the project had been snapped. Not until I saw online reports surprisingly did I realize they've (almost) finished it. "

Liang Mingcheng, who the college claimed designed the image, also thinks it is built based on his idea, but in a poor way.

"Though the statue and our design look alike, it is terrible in both effect and quality with no respect to the requirements."

The Daughter of Yellow River or Madame Sun Yat-sen is the latest in a series of problems for the charity which has been the subject of allegations of embezzlement.

In September, it was reported to have lent large amounts of money to real-estate companies for the construction of luxury apartments.

Statistics from the China Foundation Center's website show that the Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Henan was first among the country's 2,270 charitable foundations, with net assets of about 3 billion yuan ($470 million) as of the end of 2010.

However, the foundation spent only 140 million yuan on charitable projects in 2010, rather than the 420 million yuan the regulations would have required.