The unveiling in January of a colossal statue of Confucius overlooking Tiananmen Square prompted a flurry of commentary debating the rehabilitation of traditional culture and political Confucianism. Now, however, the statue has been moved to a relatively obscure position in a courtyard sculpture garden, which officials claim was always the plan. From the Economic Observer:
According to officials with the National Museum, the statue was always intended to be placed in the courtyard and, despite an official unveiling ceremony in January this year, was only “temporarily” placed by the north gate as they awaited completion of the sculpture garden.
This official explanation has met with some scepticism, however, with some suspecting political factors behind the scenes. From AFP:
Many were puzzled but some speculated there was a political motivation. “The statue of Confucius opposite Mao’s portrait — now that is a serious political problem,” one netizen said on the popular Sina.com microblog.
They “can’t count on Confucius, (they) still have to count on old Mao because you can’t control people through thought, only through guns,” another added ….
Some netizens expressed anger at the removal of the statue, which a security guard confirmed had taken place Wednesday evening. Calls to the national museum’s press office went unanswered.
“The Analects (teachings) of Confucius are in fact more like demands of morality from the rulers, so to move away his statue represents the bankruptcy of government morality. It just wastes ordinary people’s money,” one netizen said.