JINAN, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- He's been dead for 2,500 years but his family just keeps growing and growing - Confucius, or more properly his descendants, are alive and well and flourishing in China and across the globe, according to the latest version of his family tree which is set to triple the size of his kith and kin.
The job of registering new members to the family tree of revered Chinese thinker and educator Confucius (551-479 BC), was finished by the end of 2007, and the number in the updated tree now stands at more than two million.
The family tree will be published in 2009, according to the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee.
"We have received more than 1.3 million new entries and already stopped soliciting new ones," said Kong Dewei, a Confucius descendant who is directing the updating work.
The 1.3 million are the living members of the Confucius family who have paid the official registration fee of five yuan (70 U.S. cents), but the deceased members will also be included if their descendants can prove a collateral family tree which conforms to the Confucius Genealogy, without any charges, Kong said.
The registration work started in 1998, when Kong Deyong, 77th-generation descendant established the committee in Hong Kong. More than 450 branches were set up around the world to assist the work.
The pedigree has only been revised four times throughout history. The last revision took place in the 1930s and included 600,000 members. The fifth edition of the Confucius family tree will be published to coincide with the 2560th anniversary of the birth of the thinker next year.
Compared with previous versions, the new genealogy will for the first time include overseas and female descendants of the great philosopher.
More than 40,000 overseas descendants will be added to the fifth edition of the Confucius Gnealogy, with 34,000 of them from the Republic of Korea.
The descendants flourished on the Korean Peninsula after the 54th-generation descendant arrived there at the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368).
To everyone's gratification, the workers managed to recover 900descendants in Taiwan and two branches which have been lost for more than 1,000 years in Shanxi and Henan provinces, Kong said.
Kong said the family tree doesn't include all Confucius' offspring because links with some branches have been lost.
He estimated there are more than three million descendants of Confucius living in the world, including 2.5 million on the Chinese mainland.
Confucius' family tree is regarded as the world's longest, recording 83 generations of the sage's family.
According to Kong, the family tree, presented in user-friendly digital form, can be displayed just by clicking on the mouse.
The 21st century family tree update has been approved by 87-year-old Kung Te-cheng, the chairman's cousin living in Taiwan who inherited the millennium-old title of Yan Sheng Gong (Lord of the Saint Blood) and presided over the fourth book's compilation as well as family rituals. Emperor Renzong (1022-1063) of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) bestowed that tile on the head of the philosopher's 46th-generation descendants.
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.