In this photo by Mark Schiefelbein, participants in traditional dress stand near an oversized portrait of Confucius during a ceremony in Beijing to observe the 2,567th birth anniversary of the famed Chinese philosopher. Ceremonies were held across China on Wednesday, including in Confucius' eastern hometown, Qufu. Most of the participants at the event in Beijing were students and faculty at a private school that teaches students classic works by Confucius and other sages, calligraphy, and Chinese medicine, among other subjects. Confucius and his teachings were widely criticized by the founding father of Communist China, Mao Zedong, who railed against traditional culture and what he called "feudal thinking." However, the sage's image has been rehabilitated in recent years as the government pushes his message of harmonious social order and deference to authority. Confucius' teachings emphasized duty to family, respect for learning and obedience of individuals to the state.
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