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Olympic torch relay to be held at hometown of Confucius

The Olympic torch relay will be held at Qufu, the hometown of Confucius and the third stop of the 3-day Shandong leg, early on Tuesday morning.

Located some 500 kilometers south of Beijing, Qufu, just like Athens, is rich in culture and history. It is most famous for its being "the hometown of Confucius, and the land of propriety and righteousness."

Confucius, a philosopher, statesman and educator, was born here at the end of the Spring and Autumn period in 551 B.C. He founded the Confucianism and engaged in private education.

Emperors of successive dynasties esteemed him as "ancestral teacher" and worshiped him in temples. For over 2500 years, Confucius's teachings have significantly influenced China and some Asian countries.

In fact, Confucianism has an enduring and profound influence all over the world. In 1988, 75 Nobel Prize winners made a statement in Paris that if humankind were to survive in the 21st century, they must draw wisdom from Confucius.

"For me, one thing in common between Confucianism and Christianity is that, they all stress that one not for himself, but for the whole society." During his tour in the Confucius Temple, Robert Kuhn, a tourist from Switzerland expressed his understandings of Confucius.

He continued, "Confucius is still guiding people in modern world. Take the organization of Olympic Games for instance, to hold a successful game, cooperation is essential. And to cooperate, people have to behave upon certain rules and obey common moral standards. "

Thanks to Confucius and many of his descendants, Qufu boasts a wealth of cultural relics and remains. In the city, there are now over 300 historic relics under protection, among which six sites are of national level, eleven are of provincial level. Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1994.

The city is now a popular destination for travelers around the world. Most tourists come to see the places where Confucius lived, studied and was buried. In September each year, the city hosts a festival to celebrate the sage's birthday.

A total of 100 torchbearers will participate in the 5.1-kilometer leg of the Olympic torch relay in Qufu. According to the schedule, Kong Peng, a local tour guide and a descendant of Kong family, will be the first bearer of Qufu leg.

The flame will arrive in Mount Taishan, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, later on Tuesday.

Source: Xinhua

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