If you walk around the Chinese garden section of the Luneta Park, you would find a statue of China’s most important teacher, Kong Zi, or more popularly known under his Latinized name, Confucius.
From the moment the Han dynasty officially made his thoughts the ideological cement of society, Confucius has served as the symbol of Chinese civilization and culture. His works were studied and interpreted by countless aspiring bureaucrats and restless philosophers. His words were memorized by pitiful children forced by their parents to parrot the Analects. Thus, for the next 2,000 years, Confucius’ position in Chinese culture would be pre-eminent.
But the May 4th Movement of 1919 exploded. The “new youth” repudiated the teacher and blamed his antiquated thoughts to be the root cause of China’s backwardness, thus leading her to a century of humiliation under Western and Japanese imperialism. Lu Xun, China’s most important modern writer, would denounce the Confucian classics as books that teach nothing but cannibalism. This rejection of the Confucian tradition would continue under the People’s Republic where Mao Zedong Thought was established as official ideology.