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China to Install Electric "Bodyguard" for Leshan Buddha

A high-tech monitoring system will be installed to guard the world's tallest statue of Buddha in Leshan, a city in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The system will not only prevent disastrous fires and floods but also help keep visitors in order and stop damage to the 1,281-year-old statue from outside forces.

The system, due to be completed within two years, will cost some four million yuan (about US$482,000), sources say.

Lu Lin, director of the Leshan Buddha's management committee , said the system included sensitive warning equipment that can keep watch around the clock.

Last year, Leshan invested a total of six million yuan to build more facilities to improve security for the statue.

For instance, a pipeline network was developed to convey river water on to the mountain, which not only provides water for the trees around the statue but also enough for fire fighting

The statue, which sits on a cliff, measures 71 meters from top to bottom and 28 meters wide - 18 meters taller than the standing Buddha statue at Bamian Valley in Afghanistan.

More than two million visitors each year view the Leshan Buddha,which adds about 700 million yuan to local tourism earnings.

(Xinhua News Agency June 15, 2002)

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