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The Guanyin of the South Sea of Sanya is a three-faced statue that sits on the south coast of China's Hainan province. Some rights reserved by C Ling Fan.

The three faces of Guanyin

Any tour of the modern world’s Seven Religious Wonders would include a stop on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. Here since 2005 has stood a colossal statue of Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. The figure astounds not just by its sheer size—it is 354 feet high—but by the mere fact of its creation: it was commissioned and funded by a Chinese communist government long bitterly opposed to religion of every stripe. The statue of Guanyin is an object lesson in the new China’s radically changed attitude to faith—but also a warning to Christians who place their hopes in any future mass conversions in that vast country.


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