Confucius statue removed from outside Beijing's National Museum

Other News Materials 22 April 2011 15:25 (UTC +04:00)

A statue of Confucius erected in front of Beijing's National Museum on the edge of Tiananmen Square in January was suddenly removed, media reports said Friday.

The 9.5-metre bronze statue of the philosopher was moved on Thursday to a less prominent position inside the museum, DPA reported.

The newspaper Beijing Wanbao said the move had been long planned.

Lu Zhangshen, the director of the museum, said at the statue's unveiling that it would become another of the city's landmarks like the Forbidden City and the Great Hall of the People.

The prominent place the statue occupied, not far from a giant portrait of chairman Mao Zedong that dominates the Gate of Heavenly Peace, had provoked debate in the Chinese capital as Mao had dismissed Confucius' teachings.

The erection of the statue reflected a growing revival of traditional religious and cultural practices in China over the past 25 years.

The nominally atheist leaders of the ruling Communist Party have studied Confucian and other Chinese classics that were once banned as "feudal ideology."

Some see Confucius as a and warn of a new cult of the philosopher.