Adding Confucian elements at political center

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, January 14, 2011
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A new 9.5-meter-tall statue of Confucius outside the National Museum of China on the east side of Tiananmen Square has drawn both public attention and controversy.

Even though the statue was erected as "a symbol of traditional Chinese culture" as stated by an employee of the museum, it is being associated with politics by certain citizens.

Some saw in it a setback in that the government might advocate Confucius' "feudal" political theory in modern society. Others even connected it with the removal of the portraits of Carl Marx and Friedrich Engels years ago and equivocated it to a return to Confucianism trumping Marxism, Leninism and Maoism.

The designer Wu Weishan told the media that as an icon of Chinese traditional values, Confucius can serve as China's cultural ambassador, and that the statue also conveys Confucius' idea of a harmonious society.

The latter part coincides with the current government's administration ideal. However, Wu may not have anticipated such speculation and debate surrounding his artwork.

This reaction is hardly surprising. Tiananmen Square is the political center of China, any object placed there will make tongues wag. The erecting of dozens of colorful columns around the square on National Day last year, to symbolize the harmony of all Chinese ethnic groups, encountered criticism over whether their color and tone fit the square.

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