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Greek Crisis Strands Rev ML King Sculpture In China

Martin Luther King sculpture destined for Washington, D.C. is stranded in China because of the Greek i

Sculptor Lei Yixin, known for his sculptures of Chairman Mao, showed off a model of a new Martin Luther King Jr. statue at his studio in China in 2007. The three-story full size sculpture is stranded in China because of the Greek debt crisis. LIU JIN/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption LIU JIN/Getty Images
Martin Luther King sculpture destined for Washington, D.C. is stranded in China because of the Greek

Sculptor Lei Yixin, known for his sculptures of Chairman Mao, showed off a model of a new Martin Luther King Jr. statue at his studio in China in 2007. The three-story full size sculpture is stranded in China because of the Greek debt crisis.

LIU JIN/Getty Images

Here's an unexpected piece of fallout from the Greek economic crisis: a monumental sculpture memorializing Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to be given a place of honor in Washington, D.C. is stuck in China because the Greeks, who promised to transport it to the U.S., can no longer afford to.

The Washington Post reports that the Greeks are very sorry they can't follow through. Apparently, even wealthy Greek shipping magnates have been hurt by Greece's economic reversal of fortune.

A WaPo excerpt:

Officials planning the $120 million King memorial on the Tidal Basin were delighted. The cost savings would be substantial. And the connection to Greece and its ancient culture would be rich.

But now, with the 159 huge stone blocks that make up the sculpture waiting at a Chinese seaport and major work underway on the memorial site in Washington, Greek officials have told officials of the King project that they can't deliver.

"They apologized and said their country is in dire straits and they will not be able to fulfill their promise," said Ed Jackson Jr., the project's executive architect. A spokesman at the Embassy of Greece in Washington confirmed that, saying no Greek shippers could be found to do the job. The "economic crisis bites everywhere," he said.

Jackson said that project officials have money budgeted for the task but that a new shipper "hasn't been clearly lined up yet."

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