Mao Zedong
Statue of Mao Zedong reportedly demolished days after its constructionGetty Images

A massive gold-painted statue of Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, appears to have been demolished days after its construction. The 37-metre statue was built in the fields of Zhushigang, a village in Tongxu county, China.

Photos of the broken head of the statue and of its torso without legs have surfaced online. However, there has been no official confirmation of its destruction, AFP reported.

The report cited People's Net as saying that the reasons for pulling down the statue were "unclear". According to the news portal, which is linked with the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the project "was not registered or approved" by the local government.

The statue was reportedly constructed at a cost of CN¥3m (£300,000, $460,000) from funds by local entrepreneurs. It showed Chairman Mao, who ruled China for over 30 years until his death in 1976, seated with his hands folded.

The statue's location had sparked fury since it reminded people of a great famine in the region in the late 1950s. Many blame Mao's economic policies for the famine that claimed over 40 million lives.

At 21ft, the giant statue would have been the tallest in the country. Two more giant statues of Mao, 30 and 32 metres high, were erected in the country's Sichuan and Hunan provinces.