The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall could well be the next UNESCO world heritage site.
Beijing’s Dongcheng district is said to be applying to the United Nations for world heritage status for a list of 22 sites that is likely to include the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, where the Great Helmsman’s pickled body now lies, as well as the Monument to the People’s Heroes.
According to Raymond Li of the South China Morning Post:
Beijing started its application process last year, but the plan previously only covered buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is now being recommended the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, commonly known as the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong , and Monument to the People’s Heroes be included.
Wei Ruifeng, a deputy director of the Dongcheng District Culture Commission, said both structures should be listed despite them being only a few decades old.
“Both structures constitute heritage and a heritage site does not have to be 100 years old to qualify as a world heritage site,” Wei said.
He cited the example of the Sydney Opera House, which opened to the public in 1973 but was included in the World Heritage list in 2007.
Unsurprisingly, rumours of the decision to include the Mao-soleum in the list is creating a great deal of controversy online. This is after all, a man whose rule was responsible for the deaths of some 40 to 70 million Chinese citizens.
And oh, the architecture of his tomb might not even be original to begin with. If they succeed in the bid, this could well be the first shanzhai UN world heritage site. Exciting times.