Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Confucius in Tiananmen

Confucius shows up on Tiananmen Square
In this Wednesday photo, Chinese paramilitary policemen stands guard in front of a sculpture of the ancient philosopher Confucius on displayed in near the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China's capital. Photo: AP.
In this Wednesday photo, Chinese paramilitary policemen stands guard in front of a sculpture of the ancient philosopher Confucius on displayed in near the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China's capital. Photo: AP. 
There’s a new face keeping Chairman Mao company on Tiananmen Square.

A mammoth sculpture of the ancient philosopher Confucius was unveiled this week off one side of the vast plaza. It’s a juxtaposition for a square the ruling Communist Party treats as politically hallowed ground- a mausoleum holding revolutionary leader Mao Zedong’s body sits in the middle and his giant portrait hangs at one end.

Placing the statue at China’s political heart is the government’s most visible endorsement yet of the 2,500-year-old sage and, selectively, his teachings.

Confucius is enjoying a revival, in books and films, on TV and in classrooms. His message of harmonious social order and deference to authority is unthreatening to the party, while his emphasis on ethics resonates among Chinese coping with fast-paced social change on the back of torrid economic growth.

The government is increasingly marshalling his popularity to bolster national identity. “The rise of a big country requires a cultural foundation, and Chinese culture upholds the spirit of harmony,” said Wu Weishan, the sculptor, who has made more than 200 statues of the philosopher. “The essential thoughts of Confucius are love, kindness, wisdom and generosity. And peace and prosperity are what the people are striving for.”

The 31-foot (9.5-meter) bronze sculpture depicts a robed Confucius with a serious expression and sits on the east side of the square, facing in the direction of Mao’s portrait and amid the bustle of Beijing. Chinese tourists busily snapped photos and agreed that Confucius’ teachings bear a message for modern China. “Confucianism has been governing the lives and ethics of Chinese for thousands of years,” said 25-year-old engineer Cui Xiaozhan, on a business trip from the eastern city of Qingdao. “We should study it. But everyone is too busy and tired.”

Confucius laid down a code of ethics that was adopted as a quasi-religious national philosophy of governance and personal behaviour. His teachings emphasized duty to family, respect for learning, virtuous behaviour and obedience of individuals to the state.

Confucius comeback continues with Tiananmen statue 

Confucius comeback continues with Tiananmen statue  
AFP – People walk pass a bronze 7.9-metre-tall Confucius statue in front of the renovated National Museum of …
BEIJING (AFP) – China has unveiled a statue of Confucius on Tiananmen Square -- the latest sign of the ancient philosopher's comeback after decades in which his teachings were suppressed by Mao Zedong.
The 7.9-metre (26-feet) tall statue stands at an entrance to China's National Museum, which fronts Tiananmen Square and its communist monuments such as late revolutionary leader Mao's tomb in the heart of the capital.

The teachings of China's most famous philosopher, who was born in 551 BC, centred on peace, harmony and each citizen's duty to respect their superiors.

They became a virtual state religion but were denounced as feudal and banned under Mao's communist regime, particularly during the icon-smashing years of the radical Cultural Revolution.

The 1966-76 mass political movement against "old" ways and thinking was originally launched by Mao in a bid to neutralise potential political rivals.

But Confucius' teachings have enjoyed an officially-sanctioned rehabilitation under the current Communist Party leadership amid the wholesale abandonment of Maoist thought.

The new statue faces across Beijing's main thoroughfare toward the Forbidden City, the former Chinese imperial home, where a huge portrait of Mao hangs over the complex's entrance.

The National Museum, which is on the east side of the square, has been closed for more than three years for a major renovation. Media reports said it could reopen this year.

The Beijing Daily newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying the statue was erected this week to recognise Confucius' status as a "symbol of traditional Chinese culture and a calling card of Chinese culture".
With government support, Confucius institutes have been established around the world with the aim of promoting the Chinese language and culture.

In 2009, a Confucius biopic backed by the government was released to coincide with National Day on October 1, which that year marked the 60th anniversary of Mao's 1949 declaration of the People's Republic of China.

Last September, Chinese officials in Beijing marked the philosopher's birthday at a ceremony in a Confucian temple, the first time it was celebrated in the capital since at least 1949.

Related article:  

Confucius Institutes - 5th Conference opens in Beijing


  1. This article by AFP is a misleading and confusing the people of the world, reflecting a typical of Western media and their mindset!

    Confucius was China nation's most renowned ancient philosopher and educator, whereas Chairman Mao was a founder of new China in 1949. The two has been great leaders to China and the world, their contributions remain relevant today.

    As the world change, China has been rapidly changing too. China cannot remain in Chairman Mao era!!

    Check the facts in the earlier post: "Confucius Institutes - 5th Conference opens in Beijing".

  2. There is a Confucius Peace Prize for real peace:

    Confucius Peace Prize Snubs Nose at Nobel Peace Prize, in Battle ...

  3. For peace and harmony, learn the real China and Mandarin from Confucius Institute!