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Pictures | Mon Jan 4, 2016 | 1:30pm EST

The cult of Mao

A crane is seen next to a giant statue of Chinese late chairman Mao Zedong under construction near crop fields in a village of Tongxu county, Henan province, China, January 4, 2016. According to local villagers, several entrepreneurs spent nearly 3 million yuan (460,000 USD) to build the 120-foot-high statue covered in golden paint, local media reported. 


REUTERS/Stringer

A crane is seen next to a giant statue of Chinese late chairman Mao Zedong under construction near crop fields in a village of Tongxu county, Henan province, China, January 4, 2016. According to local villagers, several entrepreneurs spent nearly 3...more

A crane is seen next to a giant statue of Chinese late chairman Mao Zedong under construction near crop fields in a village of Tongxu county, Henan province, China, January 4, 2016. According to local villagers, several entrepreneurs spent nearly 3 million yuan (460,000 USD) to build the 120-foot-high statue covered in golden paint, local media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
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Impersonators of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong pose on a stage during the rehearsal of a drama entitled "The Red Sun Rises in Shaoshan" in Hunan province, December 21, 2008. 

REUTERS/Stringer

Impersonators of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong pose on a stage during the rehearsal of a drama entitled "The Red Sun Rises in Shaoshan" in Hunan province, December 21, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

Impersonators of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong pose on a stage during the rehearsal of a drama entitled "The Red Sun Rises in Shaoshan" in Hunan province, December 21, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer
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A girl poses for a photograph next to a 3D painting of Chairman Mao Zedong at an exhibition in Binzhou, Shandong province, December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A girl poses for a photograph next to a 3D painting of Chairman Mao Zedong at an exhibition in Binzhou, Shandong province, December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A girl poses for a photograph next to a 3D painting of Chairman Mao Zedong at an exhibition in Binzhou, Shandong province, December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
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A laborer rests on scaffolding in front of a portrait of late Chairman Mao Zedong at the city square in Changzhi, Shanxi province, July 10, 2009.  REUTERS/Stringer

A laborer rests on scaffolding in front of a portrait of late Chairman Mao Zedong at the city square in Changzhi, Shanxi province, July 10, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

A laborer rests on scaffolding in front of a portrait of late Chairman Mao Zedong at the city square in Changzhi, Shanxi province, July 10, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer
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A student from an art school practices next to a poster with a portrait of the late Chairman Mao Zedong in Nanjie village of Luohe city in China's central Henan province, September 24, 2012. 
   
REUTERS/Jason Lee

A student from an art school practices next to a poster with a portrait of the late Chairman Mao Zedong in Nanjie village of Luohe city in China's central Henan province, September 24, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A student from an art school practices next to a poster with a portrait of the late Chairman Mao Zedong in Nanjie village of Luohe city in China's central Henan province, September 24, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Participants hold placards above their heads as they form a figure, in front of a statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in his youth, during an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Changsha, Hunan province, China, August 30, 2015. 


REUTERS/Stringer

Participants hold placards above their heads as they form a figure, in front of a statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in his youth, during an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Changsha, Hunan province, China, August 30,...more

Participants hold placards above their heads as they form a figure, in front of a statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in his youth, during an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Changsha, Hunan province, China, August 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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A student falls asleep as she holds a book containing a portrait of China's late chairman Mao Zedong during a lesson at the Democracy Elementary and Middle School in Sitong town, Henan province, December 3, 2013. 

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A student falls asleep as she holds a book containing a portrait of China's late chairman Mao Zedong during a lesson at the Democracy Elementary and Middle School in Sitong town, Henan province, December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A student falls asleep as she holds a book containing a portrait of China's late chairman Mao Zedong during a lesson at the Democracy Elementary and Middle School in Sitong town, Henan province, December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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A person holds a flag of Mao Zedong, as people gather at a square to celebrate Mao's 121st birth anniversary in his hometown of Shaoshan, Hunan province, December 25, 2014. 


REUTERS/Darwin Zhou

A person holds a flag of Mao Zedong, as people gather at a square to celebrate Mao's 121st birth anniversary in his hometown of Shaoshan, Hunan province, December 25, 2014. REUTERS/Darwin Zhou

A person holds a flag of Mao Zedong, as people gather at a square to celebrate Mao's 121st birth anniversary in his hometown of Shaoshan, Hunan province, December 25, 2014. REUTERS/Darwin Zhou
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Swimmers hold a flag with an image of Mao Zedong printed on it before they set off swimming in the Yangtze to mark International Labor Day in Wuhan, Hubei province, May 1, 2013. 

 REUTERS/Darley Shen

Swimmers hold a flag with an image of Mao Zedong printed on it before they set off swimming in the Yangtze to mark International Labor Day in Wuhan, Hubei province, May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Darley Shen

Swimmers hold a flag with an image of Mao Zedong printed on it before they set off swimming in the Yangtze to mark International Labor Day in Wuhan, Hubei province, May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Darley Shen
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A statue of Mao Zedong stands in front of an apartment building in the Miyun county, north of Beijing, January 31, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

A statue of Mao Zedong stands in front of an apartment building in the Miyun county, north of Beijing, January 31, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

A statue of Mao Zedong stands in front of an apartment building in the Miyun county, north of Beijing, January 31, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray
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A re-enactment actor playing the part of Mao Zedong has make-up applied before performing in Beijing, December 13, 2013. 

REUTERS/Jason Lee

A re-enactment actor playing the part of Mao Zedong has make-up applied before performing in Beijing, December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A re-enactment actor playing the part of Mao Zedong has make-up applied before performing in Beijing, December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Workers rest on a bench under a portrait of Chairman Mao at a construction site in Wuhan, Hubei province, July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Workers rest on a bench under a portrait of Chairman Mao at a construction site in Wuhan, Hubei province, July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Workers rest on a bench under a portrait of Chairman Mao at a construction site in Wuhan, Hubei province, July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
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Supporters wave a flag bearing an image of Chairman Mao Zedong and a slogan which reads "People missing Chairman Mao", on the 120th birth anniversary of the former leader, in Shaoshan, Mao's hometown, December 25, 2013. 


REUTERS/Stringer

Supporters wave a flag bearing an image of Chairman Mao Zedong and a slogan which reads "People missing Chairman Mao", on the 120th birth anniversary of the former leader, in Shaoshan, Mao's hometown, December 25, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Supporters wave a flag bearing an image of Chairman Mao Zedong and a slogan which reads "People missing Chairman Mao", on the 120th birth anniversary of the former leader, in Shaoshan, Mao's hometown, December 25, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
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A worker cleans near a poster of the late Chairman Mao Zedong at a thermal power plant of the Nanjie Cun Group in Nanjie village of Luohe city in China's central Henan province September 25, 2012. Nanjie village, with more than 3,100 residents, is touted to be one of the remaining models of communist China, where the principles of morality and collectivism of the late Chairman Mao still strictly guide the people's daily lives. 


REUTERS/Jason Lee

A worker cleans near a poster of the late Chairman Mao Zedong at a thermal power plant of the Nanjie Cun Group in Nanjie village of Luohe city in China's central Henan province September 25, 2012. Nanjie village, with more than 3,100 residents, is...more

A worker cleans near a poster of the late Chairman Mao Zedong at a thermal power plant of the Nanjie Cun Group in Nanjie village of Luohe city in China's central Henan province September 25, 2012. Nanjie village, with more than 3,100 residents, is touted to be one of the remaining models of communist China, where the principles of morality and collectivism of the late Chairman Mao still strictly guide the people's daily lives. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Participants wave as they swim with a portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong in the Xiangjiang river, a large branch of the Yangtze River, in Changsha, Hunan province, July 18, 2015.  REUTERS/Stringer

Participants wave as they swim with a portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong in the Xiangjiang river, a large branch of the Yangtze River, in Changsha, Hunan province, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Participants wave as they swim with a portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong in the Xiangjiang river, a large branch of the Yangtze River, in Changsha, Hunan province, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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Visitors wear shirts with an image of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at the Shanghai World Expo site in Shanghai, May 2, 2010. REUTERS/Aly Song

Visitors wear shirts with an image of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at the Shanghai World Expo site in Shanghai, May 2, 2010. REUTERS/Aly Song

Visitors wear shirts with an image of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at the Shanghai World Expo site in Shanghai, May 2, 2010. REUTERS/Aly Song
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A vendor arranges decorations at a booth in Yingtan, central China's Jiangxi province, February 11, 2007. 


REUTERS/Stringer

A vendor arranges decorations at a booth in Yingtan, central China's Jiangxi province, February 11, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

A vendor arranges decorations at a booth in Yingtan, central China's Jiangxi province, February 11, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer
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Sculptors work as they stand on scaffolding surrounding a statue of Mao Zedong in the town of Dangcheng,  southwest of Beijing, March 23, 2009. 


REUTERS/David Gray

Sculptors work as they stand on scaffolding surrounding a statue of Mao Zedong in the town of Dangcheng, southwest of Beijing, March 23, 2009. REUTERS/David Gray

Sculptors work as they stand on scaffolding surrounding a statue of Mao Zedong in the town of Dangcheng, southwest of Beijing, March 23, 2009. REUTERS/David Gray
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A shop vendor stands besides portraits of the late chairman Mao Zedong, on sale at a flea market in Beijing, May 16, 2006.

REUTERS/Jason Lee

A shop vendor stands besides portraits of the late chairman Mao Zedong, on sale at a flea market in Beijing, May 16, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A shop vendor stands besides portraits of the late chairman Mao Zedong, on sale at a flea market in Beijing, May 16, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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An offering of one yuan is placed on the hand of a gilded statue of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong at a Buddhist temple in a village northeast of Chengdu, Sichuan province, June 8, 2013. The small temple was built around 2005 by local residents as a symbol of their gratitude and affection to Mao and other Chinese communist leaders. 


REUTERS/Jason Lee

An offering of one yuan is placed on the hand of a gilded statue of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong at a Buddhist temple in a village northeast of Chengdu, Sichuan province, June 8, 2013. The small temple was built around 2005 by local residents as...more

An offering of one yuan is placed on the hand of a gilded statue of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong at a Buddhist temple in a village northeast of Chengdu, Sichuan province, June 8, 2013. The small temple was built around 2005 by local residents as a symbol of their gratitude and affection to Mao and other Chinese communist leaders. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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