China has announced plans to build the world's largest statue - a 509ft statue of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, at Jiuhua Mountain in central China, one of the four major Buddhist shrines in China. The announcement is likely to dismay some Indian and British planners who have begun work on a 500ft statue of Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, in the northern Indian province of Bihar, which is expected to be finished in 2005. But the Chinese are planning to complete their statue in 2004.
Wang Jiaxiang, deputy head of the Jiuhua construction project, said building work will begin in September and take three years to complete. The entire project is estimated to cost around $55m, with $18m being spent on the statue itself.