A giant, towering and controversial statue of Mao Zedong that appeared in China’s countryside reportedly was removed just days after it was completed.

The 120-foot gold-painted statue, erected in Henan's Tongxu county – a region hit hard by a famine in the 1950s resulting from Mao’s policies – was taken down because the government had not approved it, a Zhushigang village official told the People’s Daily.

A photo circulating on social media purportedly showed the statue being taken apart with a black cloth covering Mao’s head, according to the BBC.

The statue reportedly was built as a tribute to the late Chinese leader, and was believed to have cost nearly $460,000. The funding was provided by local businessman and villagers, the BBC reports.

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