Confucius Rises Again in China
Tiananmen statue shows leadership has re-embraced him
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2011 4:08 PM CST
A file photo of a bust of Confucius.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Chinese leaders are re-embracing a once-scorned familiar figure: Confucius. A giant bronze statue of the ancient philosopher now stands on the hallowed ground of Tiananmen Sqaure, reports the Guardian. That means he's sharing space with none other than Mao, who officially condemned the teachings of Confucius amid his purge of traditional culture.

The move stems in part from the concern of Chinese leaders that the citizenry is getting too materialistic—Mao preached a values-based philosophy that emphasized personal ethics and honor, explains AP. It's quite the turn-around. "Party leaders have resurrected Confucius and practically put Mao and Confucius side by side," says one China scholar. "Mao must be turning in his grave."