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Misguided foundation

(Global Times)

09:59, November 10, 2011

24-meter-tall stone statue of a lady, about the height of an eight-story building, now towers over the Zhengdong New District in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Central China's Henan Province.

The facial features, haircut, shawl and qipao (Chinese gown) the statue wears all led the public to conclude that it is a statue of Soong Ching Ling, the late honorary president of the People's Republic of China and wife of Dr Sun Yat-sen, the revered revolutionary leader who played a pivotal role in overthrowing feudal rule in China in the 1910s.

The statue was built by the Henan Soong Ching Ling Foundation (HSCLF) as part of a charitable project for an activity center dedicated to children and teenagers, but it has recently been discovered that some of the land designated for the project has been used for constructing commercial buildings instead. The scandal has resulted in public outrage toward the foundation, which has already been marred by allegations of misappropriating donations initially revealed by the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekend.

Misused land

The statue was built on an 800-square-meter base, which was originally designated as the site for a new 600 seater meeting hall. Four six-story buildings are now scattered around the statue.

The activity center project covers an area of 148,000 square meters, with a total of 800 million yuan ($127 million) having been invested in the project. The activity center itself, however, only occupies 13 percent of the planned area. More than 106,000 square meters are currently set aside for commodity housing, the construction of which has been halted due to criticism, according to the Guangzhou Daily.

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