GUAN YU

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Lo­cal name: Kwan Kong

Where: Kwan Sing Bio Tem­ple, Tuban, East Java

Height: 30.4 me­tres

Erected: July 17, 2017

Guan Yu was a third cen­tury Chi­nese gen­eral, famed for his hon­esty. He was im­mor­talised as a god dur­ing China’s

Ming Dy­nasty (1368-1644). He is said to be a pro­tec­tor of trade and a de­fender of peo­ple from war. In the an­cient fish­ing town of Tuban on the north coast of East Java, ad­min­is­tra­tors of the Kwan Sing Bio Chi­nese Tem­ple in 2015 re­ceived pri­vate do­na­tions to erect a huge statue of Guan

Yu. Con­struc­tion be­gan in Septem­ber

2015 and was com­pleted in July 2017. The colour­ful statue, which had cost Rp2.5 bil­lion (US$160,000), was in­au­gu­rated in a cer­e­mony at­tended by Peo­ple’s Con­sul­ta­tive As­sem­bly (MPR) speaker Zulk­i­fli Hasan, who leads the Is­lam-ori­ented Na­tional Man­date Party (PAN). The statue was an in­stant tourist at­trac­tion, but mil­i­tant Is­lamic or­gan­i­sa­tions de­manded its de­struc­tion, say­ing it was trea­sonous, a form of idol­a­try and just too big. Man­agers at the tem­ple (which has a gi­ant crab on its en­trance gate) reached a com­pro­mise in Au­gust 2017 by cov­er­ing the statue with an enor­mous white sheet. In Fe­bru­ary

2018, the sheet was taken down so Guan Yu could be spruced up for Chi­nese New Year. The statue has re­mained un­cov­ered af­ter of­fi­cials said In­done­sia should not bow to the will of in­tol­er­ant ex­trem­ists.

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