Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Confucius Statue in Tiananmen Square

Poor Confucius!  After decades of being denounced by the Communist regime, now, at the eve of Chinese president Hu Jintao's visit to the USA, Confucius's status took a strong foothold in the heart of Beijing - Tiananmen Square, which had witnessed many upheavals in the imperial and republican times.

Chinese governments love to tinker with his images, in accordance to their political needs.  Oftentimes, he was assigned to the role of a political whore - against his will, I am certain.

Confucius, who championed a way of living and governing by moderation and middle-road, was often used to buttress up a regime who became dangerously out of steps with the populous, while the discontent often targeted him as the foundation of all things evil.

During the revolution ushered in republican time in China, precisely 100 year ago, was accomplished with the denouncement of Confucius and its doctrines. The Communist revolution in late 1940s repeated that feat and in the height of the Great Culture Revolution in late 1960s, Confucius temples were destroyed everywhere, including his birthplace.

However, he found a new favor now when the Chinese Communist regime found itself must account for some of their actions and existence.  Instead of ruling the country by law, Chinese government found that it was much more convenient to champion governing by virtue, allegedly promoted by Confucius.

Envious of the success of Goethe Institute, Chinese government started to fund Confucius Colleges in the world.  But what would they teach?  Telling world citizens that they shall not crave for a set of fair laws, but pray for a benevolent ruler? Goethe was a great humanist, while Confucius was not.

That said, I will not deny that he is a great thinker and deserve reverence.  But again and again, he became a prop in farces.

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Chinese dissent Liu Xiaobo enraged Chinese government and someone established a Confucius Peace Prize, echoing Hitler's establishing his own alternative Peace prize and declared that no Germans were to ever accept the Nobel prize again.

Even many Chinese citizens were nonplused about his emergence in Tiananmen Square.  Enough of using this cultural icon for political purposes.

Confucius in Tiananmen Square

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