The Little Mermaid will soon be swimming to China. One of Denmark's top tourist attractions, the statue of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale mermaid character, will be sent to China for the Shanghai 2010 World Expo. When the plan to send the statue to China emerged last year, it created a heated debate in Denmark. Some politicians have said six months was too long for one of Copenhagen's landmarks to be away from the Scandinavian country. Sitting on a rock at the entrance of Copenhagen harbor since 1913, she draws an estimated 1 million visitors a year. The Danish pavilion, called Welfairytales, at the World Expo will portray Denmark as an environmentally friendly country by combining the old with the new -- fairy tales and welfare. The sculpture, which sits on a granite block in Copenhagen's port, sits only 5.45-feet tall and was created in 1913 by Edvard Eriksen. The Hans Christian Andersen fairytale that bears her name was first published in 1837 and has since been turned into a Walt Disney cartoon. It tells the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up everything for the love of a prince. Although the little mermaid statue led a quiet life well into the 1950s, she has since received ignominious treatment on a number of occasions. She has been doused in paint several times, decapitated by a group of artists in 1964, blown off her rock in 2003 and dressed in a Muslim headscarf two years ago in apparent protest at the prospect of Turkish European Union membership. Souvenirs of Little Mermaid mostly all have either a metal or plastic figure attached to an actual stone. Other versions include older bronze miniatures and fine hand-painted porcelain replicas.