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Museum to Honor Mao in Hometown

A museum to exhibit the belongings of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong is to be built in his hometown.

The huge project in Shaoshan, a town in Hunan Province where Mao was born and grew up, will see a total investment of 291 million yuan (US$36 million).

More than 15 million yuan (US$1.85 million) will be set aside on improving the infrastructure of the town as a scenic spot and creating a national base of patriotic education.

The museum, which will be built next door to the Comrade Mao Zedong Museum built in 1964, is expected to be completed before December 26 in 2007 - the 114th anniversary of Mao's birthday.

As the birthplace to Mao, Shaoshan holds great importance to many Chinese and has long been a famous and popular tourist attraction.

The number of visitors to Shaoshan has increased steadily in recent years.

The local authorities made the announcement about the new museum on Sunday, at the start of a series of commemorative activities to mark the date of his birth, saying the money will mainly be spent on the preservation and exhibition of Mao's belongings.

It was revealed on Sunday the town has received donations worth more than 20 million yuan (US$2.5 million) from other parts of the country to promote its development in infrastructure and education.

The city of Jiangyan in East China's Jiangsu Province and Xi'an in Shaanxi Province donated 2 million yuan (US250,000) and 800,000 yuan (US$99,000) respectively to build primary schools in Shaoshan, as part of the central government's Hope project to open more schools in rural areas.

The municipal government of Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, donated 22 cars to Shaoshan as a gift in memory of Chairman Mao.

The vehicles, with a total worth of 1 million yuan (US$123,500), arrived in Shaoshan on Monday after a four-day journey across the country with slogans of "In memory of Chairman Mao" daubed on them.

"We should always bear in mind where our happiness comes from," said Wang Ying, vice-secretary of CPC Committee of Harbin.

"It is our biggest wish to contribute to the construction of Chairman Mao's hometown."

The town of Shaoshan is about 100 kilometres southwest of the provincial capital Changsha.

In 2005, its tourism income has reached 400 million yuan (US$50 million), with 3 million tourists coming from home and abroad to pay their respect to Mao, according to the local tourism bureau.

(China Daily December 27, 2005)

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