This sleepy provincial town is the birthplace of the country's foremost spiritual teacher and philosopher, Kong Fuzi, known to the West as Confucius. His impact was immense in China, and his code of conduct was a part of daily life here until it fell out of favor two millennia later during the Cultural Revolution. His teachings—that son must respect father, wife must respect husband, citizens must respect officials—were swept away by Mao Zedong because of their associations with the past. Qufu suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution, with the Red Guards smashing statues and burning buildings. But the pendulum has swung back, and Confucius's teachings are again in vogue. Encircled by a Ming Dynasty wall, Qufu certainly has character, though there’s little to do once the major sights close for the day.


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