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The giant, 10-metre-high statue of Confucius that stood in front of the National Museum of China on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was discreetly removed from its pedestal on Wednesday, March 15, causing a buzz of speculation on China's web. 
 
When communist leader Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, he launched a fierce campaign against the “feudal” and “slave-driven” teachings of Confucius as part of his efforts to eradicate China’s traditional hierarchical system. Confucianism was banned under Mao’s rule but it was gradually reintroduced after his death.
 
In September 2010, the Chinese communist government authorised the commemoration of Confucius’ birthday for the first time since 1949. And in January 2011, the authorities inaugurated a statue of the philosopher in Tiananmen Square, right across from the giant portrait of Chairman Mao.
 
Such a public revival of the ancient scholar did not go down well with all Chinese: 70% of 220,000 people questioned in an online media poll declared themselves opposed to the statue. Earlier this week, the statue was quietly moved to a less visible location inside the museum. Contacted by several news agencies, museum officials declined to comment on the decision to move the statue.

"Today, Confucius is respected as one of the greatest thinkers in history."

Jie Li is a Chinese blogger and a journalism student in France.
 
This argument is a lot of hot air. My understanding from what I’ve read online is that the statue was always intended to be put inside the National Museum, but couldn’t because the museum was undergoing repairs. So it was temporarily erected outside the building. I’m surprised to see the controversy such a minor incident has generated in the Chinese blogosphere. The statue was just moved inside the museum as planned.
 
Everyone knows Mao hated Confucius – even his grave was destroyed under the cultural revolution. All of the great man’s teachings were labelled ‘bourgeois thought’. But that was just a short period in China’s history. Today, Confucius is respected as one of the greatest thinkers in history.”
 
 
 
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Post written with France 24 journalist Trésor Kibangula.

"Erecting a statue of Confucius on Tiananmen was extremely odd and ironic"

Jing Gao is a Chinese blogger based in the United States, where she writes for the blog Ministry of Tofu.
 
According to his nephew Mao Yuanxin, Mao once famously said: ‘If the Communist Party has a day when it cannot rule or has met difficulty and needs to invite Confucius back, it means it is coming to an end’. That’s why erecting the statue of Confucius on Tiananmen Square was extremely odd and ironic, considering Mao’s embalmed body lies right at its centre inside a mausoleum.
 
When it happened, astute observers smelled revisionism, whereas the younger generation – having no memory of the massive anti-Confucius campaign – simply embraced the gesture.
 
Three months later, the statue’s removal once again caught people’s attention. Most people were confused, others were angry with the government for jerking [Confucius] around.”
 
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