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Chairman Mao's private jet 'a fake'
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A shopping center manager who tried to sell an aging passenger jet for 8 million yuan appears to have retracted a claim that it was Chairman Mao Zedong's personal airplane.

Wang Zhilei finally responded to persistent requests for clarification by saying "The plane has been on display here for about ten years, but we've never labeled it as Mao's personal jet."

The 40 year old British-made Trident jetliner had been on display for nearly 10 years outside a shopping center in Zhuhai, a city on the south China coast. The plane is apparently one of three Hawker Siddeley Tridents bought by the People’s Liberation Army in 1969.

Wang, the general manager of Ridong Group, which owns the airplane and the shopping center, had earlier told the press that the jet was one of Chairman Mao's personal airplanes and had been taken out of service in 1986. He said his group bought it in 1999 and put it on display outside the shopping center to attract business.

Insiders had already ridiculed Wang's claims.

Mr Chen who works at the China Aviation Museum in Beijing's Changping District said that both of Mao's personal airplanes were on display in the museum and he had never heard of any other personal airplanes used by the Chairman.

Others in the know said that if it had really been Mao's personal jet, there was no way a private company would have been allowed to buy or sell it. If it was genuine, it would have been handed to the department of cultural relics.

Mao's private jet, on sale at an asking price of 8 million yuan, is a fake, say experts.

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