Confucius at Tiananmen Square

A statue of Confucius was unveiled at Tiananmen Square on January 11. The sculptural likeness of China's most influential philosopher stands in the southeastern corner of the square, on Changan Avenue that runs along the northern side of Tiananmen Square. Behind him is China's National Museum and he looks in the direction of the Imperial Forbidden City. 

The statue is made of bronze and measures 9.5 m (31 ft) in height. The sculptor is Wu Weishan of the Chinese National Academy of Arts.

The erection of such a statue is of great significance. For decades Tiananmen Square has been the center of the political life in China, where the official ideology is still communism. A huge portrait of Chairman Mao still hangs on Tiananmen - "Gate of Heavenly Peace." Now the communist revolutionary leader and China's conservative philosopher are now in the same neighborhood, barely avoiding staring at each other.

The appearance of Confucius at Tiananmen Square well illustrates the curious state of the political and cultural life in China today. The country's ruling party still considers itself communist, has pursued policies that have transformed China into a capitalist economy, and now is endeavoring to revive some of China's traditional values. Confusing as it is exciting.