Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 10:44 UK

Mao dropped from new China note

Beijing's new Olympic stadium as featured on 10 yuan banknote
Six million of the new banknotes will be issued

For the first time in nearly a decade China is issuing new banknotes without the image of Chairman Mao Zedong.

The 10 yuan ($1.5; 0.75) notes instead feature Beijing's new Olympic stadium on the front, with an ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower on the back.

Both are set against the backdrop of the Temple of Heaven, sited in Beijing.

Six million of the new banknotes will be issued, but most notes in

circulation will continue to feature Mao - the founder of Communist China.

In Chinese wallets and purses, the former Communist leader still commands a presence, on everything from the smallest to the biggest banknote.

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Shanghai says Mao's dominance of the tender came in 1999, when his image was introduced partly as an anti-counterfeiting device, albeit an unsuccessful one.

Our correspondent says the Mao personality cult that once dominated China was largely killed off by the architect of China's modernisation, Deng Xiaoping.

There has been some debate in political circles about removing Chairman Mao from the currency in favour of Deng Xiaoping, but no serious moves have been made.

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