Wind topples giant statue of China's first emperor

Beijing (AFP) –


A strong gale-force wind has toppled a giant statue of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang and flattened its face at a popular tourist site in eastern Shandong province.

The 19-meter (62-foot) bronze replica of the monarch -- who was the first to unify warring factions in China and established the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) -? was blown out of its pedestal on Friday.

Cranes were immediately called in to pick up the statue, which weighs about six tonnes, according to the state-run People's Daily newspaper.

Photographs showed the structure was hollow, with metal bars inside.

The monument was built in 2005 to attract visitors to a local tourist resort.