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`Confucius Boom` Spreading in China

Posted February. 10, 2010 07:16,   


China is seeing a “Confucius boom” with TV series, movies and events honoring the ancient sage.

The country’s national TV network CCTV began airing Sept. 28 last year the animated series “Confucius” on the occasion of his birthday. The main character in the film is Kong Qiu, the philosopher’s name at birth, and he is depicted as someone who loves studying and seeks mental training throughout his life.

Also featured is Pixiu, a cute mythical animal to attract children’s attention. The four-part series comprises 104 episodes, with each part having 26 episodes.

The series cover the entire life of Kong Zi, or the Chinese name for Confucius. Part one dealing with his childhood has ended and part two on his development toward manhood is being aired.

An adult drama on Confucius’ life will also be broadcast. Chinese director Han Gang recently completed filming of the 30-episode TV series “Kong Zi,” a project that began in 2005. He said he seeks to shed light on the life and world of Confucius, whom he called a great thinker and educator.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television in Beijing also approved the script and filming of “The Analects of Confucius” submitted by director Zhang Li late last year. In addition, the translation of “Analects,” the bible of Confucianism, into eight languages has been completed.

Confucianism has lived on for more than 2,000 years after its adoption as the national philosophy of the Han Dynasty in 202 B.C. The doctrine was heavily oppressed at the time of the Taiping Rebellion in the 19th century, to the point that Confucius’s sanctuary was turned into a slaughterhouse.

In China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Confucian teaching was widely criticized as a philosophy for the ruling class. At the time, revolutionaries burned Confucius’ sanctuary in Shandong Province and shattered all of his tombstones.

Since the 1980s, however, Confucius’s reputation has gradually recovered to rise to the status of a sage from the 21st century. In 2004, a ceremony marking the 2555th anniversary of his birth was held in his birth city of Qufu for the first time since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China.

The ceremony has grown in scale every year, and more ranking Chinese officials have attended the event. The ritual oration is usually read by the Qufu mayor, but the governor of Shandong Province did the honors last year.

The chief of the Confucius Fund said in an interview with Chinese media, “Benevolence of Confucius, harmony and unity hold universal values.”

Critics of Confucianism, however, say the philosophy has been used by those in power to maintain control.