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China mulls changing Teachers' Day to birthday of Confucius

China is considering moving the present Teachers' Day to September 28, believed to be the birthday of Confucius (551-479 BC), the most important educationalist and philosopher in Chinese civilization.

The idea was made public yesterday when the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a draft amendment on a package of education laws to canvass public opinion.

From 1985, Teacher's Day was designated as September 10 every year, only a few days after the new school year begins. It is an important day in China, where a high value has traditionally been put on education and where teachers are widely respected.

For some years experts and legislators have been promising to change the date of Teacher's Day. Li Hanqiu, a scholar in traditional Chinese culture, suggested in 2004 that Teachers' Day should have historical and cultural associations and should fall on the birthday of Confucius.

There is little agreement in academic circles on the exact date of Confucius' birth. Some believe he was born on Sept. 28 in 551 BC, while others reckon September 8 or October 9.

However, since 1913, Chinese people have held rituals to commemorate Confucius on September 28, and in Taiwan, where the Chinese traditional culture is jealously safeguarded, Teachers' Day is on September 28.

In an online survey at, one of the country's major web portals, almost 70 percent of people support the change, as it avoids the hectic beginning of new school year. The 30 percent who oppose the change mostly believe it is nothing but formalism.


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