Confucius comeback continues with Beijing Tiananmen statue
Posted by Author on January 13, 2011
BEIJING — 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.
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This entry was posted on January 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm and is filed under Beijing, China, Confucius, News, People, Philosopher, Politics, Social, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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