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CHINA, May 6, 2001: China has announced plans to build the world's largest statue, a 509-ft Buddha. The statue of Bodhisattva is to be built at Jiuhua Mountain, one of the four major Buddhist shrines in China. It is will be the largest statue of Bodhisattva, the Buddha of Compassion, in the world. When completed, the statue will consist of 1,100 pieces of copper and weigh over 1,000 tons. Construction will begin in September and is scheduled for completion in 2004. The entire project is estimated to cost around $55 million. Meanwhile, Indian and British planners, connected with the Maitreya project, may be dismayed at the announcement. A 500-ft Buddha, currently underway in the northern Indian province of Bihar, was in the running for the title of the world's largest statue. The Chinese appear to be planning to outdo their Indian competitors at the finish line also, with a projected finish date of 2005. The Indian Buddha will be completed a year after the Chinese project.