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February 3, 2010

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Confucius lottery sparks controversy

CHINA'S lottery is offering Confucius-themed tickets with colorful drawings of the ancient philosopher and his teachings, drawing discussion over whether gambling and his teachings are a good fit.

The Confucius-themed tickets are aimed at educating the public about ancient Chinese culture and helping people live a "healthy, wholesome life," according to the lottery Website.

It said the Ministry of Finance approved the program launched a week ago in Confucius' hometown of Qufu in Shandong Province.

On online forum, anonymous critics said gambling was against the spirit of Confucius. One cited a Confucian tenet: "The gentleman sees righteousness, the petty man sees profit."

A Confucius-themed ticket costs 10 yuan (US$1.50) and includes quotes from "The Analects," a compilation of the ancient Chinese philosopher's works.

The grand prize ticket is worth 300,000 yuan and will read: "Of all rituals, harmony is the most valuable."

A Confucius biopic starring Chow Yun-fat is currently on release.


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