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  Practice of Confucian ethics called for to boost credibility and integrity in business activities  



As the 75th generation descendant of ancient philosopher Confucius, 47-year-old Kong Xiangling has always believed she has more social responsibilities than others.

  QUFU, Shandong, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- As the 75th generation descendant of ancient philosopher Confucius, 47-year-old Kong Xiangling has always believed she has more social responsibilities than others.

  Kong is a restaurant boss in Qufu, the hometown of Confucius (551 B.C.-479 B.C.) in east Shandong province. She said she had been taught since childhood to abide by Confucianism in everyday life, which is an ethical and philosophical system derived from the teachings of Confucius.

  "I always keep my ancestor's moral standard: to be filial to the elderly, always ready to help others, honest in doing business, and refusing to cheat customers or accept ill-gotten money. Those are my codes of conduct," Kong said.

  Kong is a well-known philanthropist among local residents, and she has been recognized by provincial market supervision authorities as a "model businesswoman" for her credibility and integrity in conducting business.

  From the small snack shop Kong opened in the 1990s to the current locally-renowned restaurant with about 40 employees, she has kept a habit of picking and buying vegetables, fish and other ingredients for making dishes in the market herself instead of asking her employees to do so.

  "I just want to make sure those ingredients are the best quality so the cooks can make good dishes. I will never cheat my customers with bad food because I don't want to disgrace my ancestor," she said.

  However, not all business people can practice strict moral self-discipline while facing the temptation of material gain. In fact, some believe China has been experiencing an honesty crisis in recent years after a string of food-safety scandals hit the nation.

  One of the biggest scandals emerged in 2008, when baby formula was found to be tainted with melamine, an industrial compound used to create plastic and resin. The tainted formula led to the death of six infants and sickened 300,000 children across the country.

  Late last month, a Shanghai court sentenced three executives of a food company to five to nine-year imprisonment after they were found responsible for illegally adding yellow dye to a type of steamed bun made of corn flour.

  Two other high-profile scandals exposed this year include the manufacture and sale of clenbuterol, an illegal fat-burning drug that is sometimes illegally used as an additive in pig feed, and "gutter oil," or reprocessed cooking oil that is illegally produced using waste oil from restaurants.

  Premier Wen Jiabao said in April that the virulent food safety incidents show the degradation of morality and the loss of credibility within the industry.

  "A country without the improved quality of its people and the power of morality will never grow into a mighty and respected power," he said.

  Wen has urged entrepreneurs on several occasions that they should have morality in their blood.





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