The State-run lottery began offering Confucius-themed tickets late last month. But a majority of people are opposed to these tickets, saying they disrespect the Chinese culture and distort Confucianism, says an article in Guangming Daily. Excerpts:
Late last month, the State-run lottery began offering Confucius-themed tickets, which was first issued in Qufu city, Shandong province, where the philosopher was born 2,500 years ago. One ticket costs 10 yuan and carries a top prize of 300,000 yuan. The possibilities of winning in this kind of lottery is 37.7 percent. More than 2 million yuan worth of tickets have been sold in the first week.
But the Confucius-themed lottery tickets have not been welcomed by the public even though the issuing authority, the Shandong Provincial Welfare Lottery Center, has said they were approved by the Ministry of Finance. It has announced, too, that the aim of the tickets is to spread knowledge about Confucius' teachings, for which his proverbs will be printed on the tickets.
An online survey by Sina.com shows 62 percent of the respondents oppose these lottery tickets. They believed that there is no correlation between issuing Confucius-themed lottery tickets and promoting Confucianism.
In fact, the essence of welfare lottery is not only to check people's urge to gamble, but also lead people to care more about vulnerable groups in society, which is just the reflection of Confucius ideas. But, unfortunately, the majority of lottery players are only concerned about whether they win the prize and are not interested in Confucius.
It is unacceptable to link Confucianism with a game of speculation. Using Confucius to sell a lottery is actually harming Chinese culture. Those involved in the lottery business should think deeply aver the true meaning of Confucianism before trying to promote Confucianism by issuing Confucius-themed lottery tickets.
(China Daily 02/11/2010 page9)