90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
China's Return of Confucius

“Avatar” was bumped off screens in China by a state-sponsored biopic on Confucius. We look at his teachings — and the rise of Confucianism in China today.

Promotional poster for the new Chinese film "Confucius."

Post your comments below

The 3-D blockbuster “Avatar” got the boot from 2,000 movie theaters in China this weekend. And “Avatar” was huge in China. But the Chinese government puts limits on foreign film runs — and it has other priorities.

Now running on all those big screens: a big-budget biopic on the ancient philosopher — China’s “Great Sage” — Confucius. [The New York Times has this update on the movie duel.]

The Chinese Communist Party has increasingly embraced Confucianism as a path to “harmony” and “order.” Admirers say it’s a natural return of the sage. Critics say it’s Chinese autocrats looking for cover.

This hour, On Point: The return of Confucius — and his new place in contemporary China.

Guests:

Joining us in our studio is Tu Weiming, professor of Chinese history and philosophy and of Confucian studies at Harvard University. He spent the last six months in China, where he is starting the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University. He written extensively on Confucius.

From New York we’re joined by Xudong Zhang, professor of East Asian studies and comparative literature at New York University. He is author of “Postsocialism and Cultural Politics: The Last Decade of China’s Twentieth Century.”

And from Berkeley, Calif., we’re joined by Minxin Pei, senior associate in the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College, where he is also professor of government. He is author of “China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy.”

More links:

Update, 1/29: “China’s Zeal for ‘Avatar’ Crowds Out ‘Confucius’” — The New York Times reports that Chinese moviegoers preferred “Avatar” to “Confucius” in such numbers that “Chinese authorities appeared to have backpedaled this week on a decision to pull ‘Avatar’ from the nation’s 2-D movie screens in favor of ‘Confucius.'”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 22, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The Russian economy will rebound and the ruble will stabilize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. (AP)

A weak ruble and a turbulent economy. We look at Putin’s Russia and what its economic free fall means.

Dec 22, 2014
A sample of some of the costumes on display at the fall 2014 "Dance & Fashion" exhibition at New York City's Museum at FIT. (AP)

Couture fashion exhibits are drawing record crowds at museums. We’ll look at the beauty and the art behind the glitz.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

 
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment