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Lifestyle
 
Confucius revival going strong in China
http://www.officebcs.com 商务中心资讯网
Confucius says, "Study the past if you would define the future."
 
Not long ago, it was a disgrace to carry the surname Kong, which indicated one was a descendent of the philosopher better known in the West as Confucius, a man vilified by the staunchest Communists as a throwback to China's feudal past.
 Here in the town where Kong Qiu was born in 551 BC and where about 20% of the population still bears his surname, corpses were once dug up from their graves at the Kong family's cemetery and hung from trees. More than 6,000 artifacts were smashed or burned.
 
"We were crushed by the Cultural Revolution," said Kong Qingying, a 52-year-old calligrapher, who lowers his voice to a dramatic hush when speaking of those dark years four decades ago.
 
Now Kong makes his living selling scrolls at the Confucius Temple, a sprawling compound on the family's ancestral grounds, and his family name is both a source of honor and a sales pitch to tourists.
 
Chuckling to himself about the irony of it all, he noted that Communist Party propaganda today is packed with Confucian aphorisms about respect, virtue, righteousness and "harmonious society."
 
"The Communist Party has come to appreciate that they can find new ideas in the old," Kong said.
 
Confucius was rehabilitated in the 1980s, but the current generation of leadership has embraced his ideas to such an extent that some scholars believe President Hu Jintao to be a closet Confucian. ("Confucius said, 'Harmony is something to be cherished,'" Hu told the National People's Congress in 2005.)
 
Today, Confucius is literally bigger than ever: A 31-foot-tall statue of him, unveiled in January, watches over the hallowed ground of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Lest anybody forget Confucius' directives about filial piety, Jiangsu province enacted a law March 1 that requires people to visit their elderly parents, or expose themselves to civil liability, and the National People's Congress is considering making that a requirement nationwide.
 
The epicenter of the revival is Qufu, a small city in Shandong province 300 miles south of Beijing that has seen its fortunes ebb and flow with the popularity of its most famous son.