The revered Chinese thinker and educator Confucius (551-478 BC) received due respect at his 2557th birthday anniversary ceremonies from people across the Taiwan Straits yesterday.
At his hometown Qufu in east China's Shandong Province, 2,557 people including Zhou Tienong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and senior officials from Taiwan attended a ceremony.
"The rules and procedures of the ceremony have changed at times since the rule of Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 25), but the essence of the ceremony has formed an unchanged cultural phenomenon in China," said Liu Xubing, deputy director of the Qufu municipal tourism department.
A grand ceremony and an international academic forum on the role of Confucian theories in the contemporary world, particularly in the building of a harmonious Chinese society and world were staged yesterday in the ancestral hall of the Confucian family in Quzhou, southeast China's Zhejiang Province.
Attended by around 200 Confucian scholars and amateur researchers of Confucian classics from across China and six foreign countries -- Poland, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the US -- as well as at least 1,500 local citizens, the two events brought the fourth Confucius Culture Festival that got underway on September 8 to its climax. The Zhejiang event also drew significant public interest to the picturesque city of Quzhou.
Little known to most Chinese today, the city of Quzhou since early 12th century has been the home to about 30,000 descendants of Confucius. It's the second largest Confucian community after Qufu.
Quzhou is also home to the Confucian ancestral hall for the southern branch of the family, the only other one of its kind in the world along with the ancestral hall in Qufu, according to Liu Shifan, vice director of the China Confucius Foundation.
In 1128, Kong Duanyou, an officially recognized direct descendant of the 48th generation of the Confucian family, moved most of his family members, along with Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) Emperor Gaozong (Zhao Gou), from Qufu while fleeing the invading Kin army. They traveled south and resettled in Quzhou.
Since that time Quzhou has served as the second largest center for studying, interpreting and spreading Confucian concepts in south China, said Kong Xiangkai, himself a descendant of the 75th generation in Quzhou.
A research center on the development of Confucian theories and their modern significance in south China was opened yesterday in the city.
(China Daily September 29, 2006)