Scholars oppose to build church in Confucius home
December 24, 2010
Ten scholars signed and published a letter on the Internet in which they oppose plans to build a Gothic-style Christian church in the hometown of Confucius. They argued the project could trigger religious and cultural conflicts.
The Holy Trinity Church will be built in Yuzhuang village in Qufu, Shandong Province, which is 3 kilometers from Confucius’ Temple, the Xinhua News Agency reported earlier.
The church could accommodate 3,000 people and stand 41.7 meters high. An exchange center for Christianity and Confucianism will also be built.
The existing church for the 10,000 Christians in Qufu is a makeshift building, the report quoted Feng Zongjie, head of the Qufu city Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China, as saying.
An official surnamed Li from the local Religion and Culture Affairs Bureau told the Global Times that the central government has approved the project, and an earth breaking ceremony was held in July.
In the letter issued Wednesday, the scholars said the government should protect the orthodoxy of Confucius, and impose restrictions on other religions in the city.
"We believe that Confucius is accommodating and will not have conflict with other religions. But we cannot guarantee that all other religions will not have conflict among themselves," the letter said.
The letter said the project should be halted, or move 25 kilometers away from Confucius’ Temple.
Chen Ming, one of the scholars and director of the Confucianism Research Center at Beijing Capital Normal University, told the Global Times that they want the government to admit the religious position of Confucianism.
Zhang Yiwu, a deputy director of the Cultural Resource Research Center at Peking University, backed the idea. "It is inappropriate to cite cultural conflict as the reason to reject the church."
Zhou Chi, a Christian in Shanghai, feels the church should be built as long as it is used only for Christian activities.