China celebrates 5th revision of Confucius' family tree

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China celebrated the ending of the latest revision of its ancient philosopher Confucius' family tree in 72 years at his birthplace Qufu City, east China's Shandong Province Thursday, three days before his 2560th birthday.

About 1,000 people, including Confucius' descendants worldwide, government officials and scholars, attended the celebration ceremony at the Confucian Temple in Qufu Thursday morning.

Kong Deyong, a 77th-generation descendant of the revered Chinese philosopher, disclosed the family tree covered with red silk at 9 a.m.

Kong then presented the family tree to the National Library of China, Taipei's "National Central Library" and the Qufu municipal government.

Kong said, "Confucius' family tree is a national treasure."

The family tree has 43,000 pages and is bound in 80 books. It records all the 83 generations of Confucius' offspring of more than 2 million people and is believed to be the biggest family tree in the world, Kong said.

The latest revision, or the fifth revision, took 10 years to complete and cost the philosopher's offspring more than 10 million yuan (1.46 million US dollars), he said.

The new list, which includes minorities, overseas and female descendants for the first time, added more than 1.4 million names than the previous revision in 1937, said Kong Dewei, head of the family tree editorial office.

Confucius' family tree has a long history and complete inheritance. It provides important historical materials for Confucius studies and research into China's historical development, said Liu Qian, deputy head of the Chinese National Academy of Arts.

"This is the most excited moment in my life," said Kong Dejun, a former female teacher at Cambridge University, She came from Switzerland to attend the ceremony.

"In terms of genes, Confucius' blood is flowing in our body," she said, "the revision shows Chinese female's status is improving."

The large-scale revision of Confucius' family tree dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The family agreed that every 60 years a revision should be made. Due to various reasons, the family tree was only revised four times before the latest revision.

Kong Deyong set up a Confucius' revision association in Hong Kong in 1998 and set up 530 revision branches in the world to collect the new descendants.

Confucius, born in 551 B.C. in Shandong, was a great teacher and thinker whose theories held sway as orthodox ideology in China for more than 2,000 years. His teachings, which advocate peace and social harmony, enjoyed a renaissance here in recent years.

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