Former Communist Leader Mao Zedong's Portrait Set on Fire

May 14, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: May 14, 2007 12:00 am

Mao Zedong's portrait in Tiananmen Square was set on fire by a vandal on May 12, according to eye witnesses. Approximately 15 percent of the portrait was damaged.

The portrait hanging over the Heavenly Peace Gate at Tiananmen Square was suddenly set aflame. Witnesses said a vandal had thrown a flammable object at the portrait. After the incident, workers immediately cleaned up the place and policemen sealed off the surrounding areas.

According to a Reuters report, an official from the Tiananmen administration committee confirmed the incident took place, but declined to disclose details.

Since the crackdown on the student movement in 1989, Tiananmen Square has been considered a sensitive area. Authorities have set up very tight security measures at Tiananmen Square. In 1989, Mao Zedong's portrait was splashed with paint by a pro-democracy activist.