The statue of the ancient Chinese deity Chi has become a major tourist attraction in Texas, but some are questioning its value as a cultural asset.
The statue, made of marble and bronze, was erected in the late 1960s in an old city park in Austin, Texas, and was intended to be a symbol of friendship and brotherhood between Chinese and American Chinese.
It was then relocated to a park in the United States in 2003.
Now, in the spring of 2019, Austin officials have removed the statue from its original location in the park, where it was placed for over 60 years, saying it was not a cultural property.
The decision has caused outrage among local residents and some businesses, who have called it an attempt to erase a cultural history.
The statue was also intended to represent the spirit of unity between the two nations.
But Austin Mayor Steve Adler told The Daily Beast that it was a decision that was made without considering the cultural significance of the statue.
“We didn’t want to create any unnecessary controversy, but we also didn’t feel that it should be a property that’s being auctioned off at the moment,” he said.
In an interview with The Daily Caller, Adler said the decision was made after the statue was deemed to be culturally insensitive and a threat to the integrity of the Chinese community in Austin.
“It is not appropriate for a statue to be taken down,” Adler explained.
“We are going to be consulting with the Chinese embassy and with the Austin Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which will make a recommendation on whether to allow it to be removed from the park.”
Adler, a Democrat, was also the mayor of Austin from 2004 to 2008, and the son of a Chinese immigrant.
He said he was disappointed by the decision.
“I was very upset to see that the statue, which has become an icon for the city, was not protected and given the appropriate opportunity to be restored,” he told TheDC.
Adler said he is still unsure if he will move the statue back to the park or return it to China.