The family tree of Confucius, the revered Chinese thinker and educator, will number 1.5 million when the current update is completed.
"More than 1 million descendants of Confucius will be added to the family tree in this update. Women members will be recorded for the first time," said Kong Dehong, a Confucius descendant directing the fifth update of the family tree, at a festival commemorating Confucius in his hometown -- Qufu in east China's Shandong province.
Kong said the job of registering new members has been more or less completed. The new family tree will be edited and printed in 2009, on the 2560th anniversary of the birth of the famous sage.
"We have to adapt to the times. Men and women are equal now. Even if a woman has to leave the family when she gets married to live with her husband, that doesn't change the fact that she is descended from Confucius," Kong said at a gathering of Confucius' descendants from around the world.
Confucius' family tree is regarded as the world's longest, recording more than 80 generations of the Confucius family.
Kong said the family tree doesn't include all Confucius' descendants because links with some branches have been lost and some people in high places are cautious about entering their names in the family tree.
He estimated there are more than 3 million descendants of Confucius living in the world, including 2.5 million on the Chinese mainland. There are several thousand Confucius descendants living in Taiwan, he said.
According to Kong, the updated family tree will include the name of the spouse, as well as the educational background and posts held by the descendants. Presented in user-friendly digital form, the family tree can be displayed just by clicking on the mouse.
Chinese scholars say Confucius' thoughts, including putting people first, cultivating fraternity, loyalty, filial piety and integrity of personality, and seeking harmony while keeping differences in thoughts and culture, are important to boosting world harmony.
(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2006)