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 Renren.com, 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.
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~
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
Other comments are downright entertaining.
二哥 您憔悴了 让这帮小学生给你折腾的 您老主意身体。
He has also been compared with Brother Chun, a popular Internet meme originating from Super Girl Li Yuchun with similar deified quality