In August 2012, a huge statue of a Buddhist goddess went up in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Without consulting anyone, the local government had erected it right on a busy intersection. 11 days later, however, the statue had disappeared. Again without consulting anyone, the local government had abruptly torn it down after sustained criticism on social media. What was wrong with the goddess? She was ugly, but she helped inspire some people at the website Sohu to launch an online poll to determine China’s ten ugliest statues from a shortlist of 59.
A full five million votes were cast, the competition was stiff, and as it turned out the ugly goddess in Urumqi was not one of the ten finalists. But no-one can deny her inspirational role. So here’s her brief, forlorn story, and the ten finalists of the ugliest, most obscene and confusing statues from around China – in all their glory.