China: How does the young generation view Confucius

A rumor circulated on the web that all the 2D versions of Avatar have been pulled out of the Chinese cinemas to make way for the domestic movie Confucius. Despite reports like this, government officials quickly denied it. Yet like all rumors, even if wrong, they may contain a kernel of truth.

Confucius is often regarded as China’s most important cultural icon, greatest sage and almost as a source of Chinese civilization. However, no matter what Confucius really meant in his analects, for thousands of years many different people with many different agendas have interpreted Confucius in the ways they wished. The emperors borrowed the extensive imagery of mandate of heaven to consolidate their ultimate power; now, the contemporary leaders praise Confucianism to reinforce the concept of a harmonious society; while nationalists also join the party simply because Confucius was Chinese.

In this context, it is no surprise why such a rumor was able to gain currency. Many people ridicule at yet another possible attempt to appropriate the aura of Confucius to the service of the State, by using executive order to make sure that people will watch the new film, while ousting a popular western film that evokes sympathetic feelings among many Chinese

However, how does the young generation really feel about Confucius? A public page on, China’s largest Social Networking Service site for young people, gives us some interesting insights.

The public page ‘owned’ by Confucius was put up last November. Since then, more than 77,000 people have ‘befriended’ him and there have been nearly 27,000 comments left for him. There has never been a reply from him yet.

A quick scan through the comments reveals that the overwhelming majority of the visitors solicited help from Confucius in his role as a saint-god, for no other reason than the passing of school exams.


Saint~ the score of my Physics and Chemistry have not come out yet~ I come to worship/kowtow~ you must know what I mean!

孔嗲嗲 来看你咯 虽然不知道你的幕后操纵者是谁 但还是很虔诚的拜拜你 今天下午最后一门哦 爷懂得哈~

Daddy Kong (the family name of Confucious is ‘kong’), I come to visit you. I don’t know who is behind you manipulating your page. Still I worship/kowtow to you faithfully. My last test is in this afternoon. Grandpa, you must know what I mean~


Grand-daddy, bless me that my teacher will have mercy…bless me that I am able to visit today


I come to worship/kowtow to you, too. You once said: Thou shall not fail in Chinese writing!


Confucius, what about my linear algebra!

拜什么也不如拜孔老夫子有用。我知道您古往今来什么都懂。2500年不是距离。明天Computer arch。晚生靠您托梦了。如果我睡的话。

Worshipping the Old Confucius is more useful than worshipping anyone else. I know you know everything in all history and 2500 years apart is nothing for you. Tomorrow I have a computer architecture test. I request you to leak the questions to me in my dream, if I am able to sleep at all!


Confucius~ According to reliable sources, the writing section of our next test will ask us to write an analysis on one of your quotes. Considering I am really not good at writing analysis, I come and worship/kowtow to you. I wish you could give me some inspiration.

Note here that in order to translate “拜” I hesitated over which word to use. It should be translated as worship. However, worship implies rather more belief and faith than it is the case. In China, many people visit temples of all kinds and kowtow to whatever deity that is believed to promise good fortunes. It is obvious that Confucius is seen here as another one of those who sit in the Chinese Pantheon.

There are also a variety of themes besides soliciting help. Some reflect nationalistic sentiment


Yes, this is Chinese culture! Utterly Chinese!

Other comments are downright entertaining.


Confucius! You must know what I mean! Worship/kowtow!

二哥 您憔悴了 让这帮小学生给你折腾的 您老主意身体。

Brother No. 2, you look tired. You have to take care of your health despite the harassment of this bunch of elementary school pupils. (Confucius is the second son in the family)


Old man, right now in China there is a bunch of idiots who have made a terrible movie about you. You are going to be ruined. I come to convey my deepest sympathy.

He has also been compared with Brother Chun, a popular Internet meme originating from Super Girl Li Yuchun with similar deified quality


I worship/kowtow to Brother Chun and Confucius together!


Everyone is worshipping/kowtowing to Brother Chun, but I feel it is more realistic to worship/kowtow to you.

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