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  Statue of Confucius sparks trademark dispute in China  

  

 

The unveiling of a statue of Confucius, China's patron philosopher, in his hometown has ignited a debate over whether anyone can claim the rights to the sage's image, state press has said.

The statue was put up on Sunday in Qufu, eastern Shandong province, by the China Confucius Foundation, which hailed it as the "standard" image to be used at home and abroad, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

But academics have been angered with the concept, saying the foundation is seeking to develop a "Confucius" trademark to cash in on growing tourism and publishing markets surrounding the philosopher.

"There are no pictures of the ancients, any edition of an image of Confucius is the product of the imagination of later people," the paper quoted Han Zhaoqi, a history professor at Beijing Normal University, as saying.

"How can you say that this image is the 'standard' one?"

According to the paper, the "standardized" likeness of Confucius is based on a painting by Wu Daozi, who lived during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), well after the philosopher was dead. Confucius lived over 2,500 years ago.

Confucianism, a body of ethical principles derived from the thinker, has been a dominant force throughout China's history, although the rise of the Communists last century pushed it into the background for a few decades.

The philosophy has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years.

 

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