JINAN, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese people desperate to
prove they are descendants of Confucius have been told that DNA tests will not
be included in the current compilation of the family tree of China's first
teacher of philosophy.
Statue of Confucius (File Photo)
Kong Deyong, head of the association of compilation
work for Confucius Genealogy, announced the exclusion earlier this week.
The thoughts of Confucius (551-479 BC), a
philosopher, educator and founder of Confucianism in the late Spring and Autumn
Period (770-476 BC), are believed to still hold weight over Chinese society.
But the total number of the sage's descendants that
are alive today is still a mystery.
"Genealogy attaches importance to a clear family
tree. Every person who wants to be included in the family tree has to make it
clear where on the family tree he or she belongs," Kong Deyong said.
"Although a DNA test may prove someone has blood ties
with Confucius, it will fail to ascertain where the claimant is located on the
family tree," Kong added.
The current compilation of Confucius Genealogy began
in 1996 and is the fifth of its kind. But this time, female descendants will be
included for the first time. Those people living outside China may also be
included if they are able to present "solid evidence".
Some unconfirmed claimants, who cannot find their
ancestors' connection to the family tree of Confucius, were hoping a DNA test
would help them verify their identity.
However, Kong Deyong said, "We've never considered
inclusion of DNA test results in the re-compilation of the Confucius Genealogy.
Although DNA tests can prove blood ties, they are not helpful in the genealogy
Instead, experts with the Beijing Institute of
Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences plans to set up a Confucius-DNA
Xia Xueluan, a sociologist with Beijing University,
firmly opposes people identifying themselves as descendants of Confucius through
"It is more important to carry on the positive
contents of Confucian thoughts than simply proving one is descendent of the
sage," Xia noted.
According to Kong Dewei, head of the Confucius
Genealogy compilation office, registration of Confucius descendants has been
largely completed. The new Confucius Genealogy is expected to be publicized in
The last compilation of the Genealogy was conducted
between 1930 and 1937.
Kong Dewei said the newly completed registration
showed there are descendants of Confucius all over China except Tibet Autonomous
Region. Most of them live in Shandong, Hebei and Henan provinces as well as in
northeastern China and in the Yangtze River valley.
He said, "There are also a large number of
descendants living outside China. In the Republic of Korea alone, there are 1.2
million registered descendants of Confucius." Enditem