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Confucius Sells Lottery Tickets in China

Feb 03, 2010 - by admin
Confucius Gambling Lottery in China

A new style of lottery tickets has emerged in China. The tickets bear colorful portraits of the ancient philosopher Confucius, along with proverbs form his work The Analects. If the proverbs on a ticket match those drawn by lottery operators, the player wins a cash prize. The new lottery is bringing a lot of criticism by people who find this use of Confucius’ teachings distasteful.

China Daily: Confucius lottery tickets draw ire

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher who encouraged people to seek their fortunes in a noble manner. Ironically, his portrait and words of wisdom can now be found printed on lottery tickets, which are the only form of gambling allowed by the Chinese government.

Last month, lottery vendors in China’s Shandong province started selling these new Confucius tickets which offer a top prize of 300,000 yuan (about $44,000).

The new lottery tickets have enraged bloggers and columnists across the internet who claim that the lottery tickets are tarnishing the image of the wise man who lived more than 2,000 years ago.

Lottery officials are surprised. Tang Nianbing, a manager at Shandong’s lottery center, defended the company against accusations that they are using Confucius to promote sales. “The center is not trying to influence the sale of their lotteries (by using Confucius’ image), ” he said.

“The Confucius-themed lotteries are the country’s most real culture-centered tickets,” wrote Tang in an article that introduced the lottery. “Its cultural content will erect a milestone in the development of our country’s lotteries.”

The Shandong area was home to Confucius about 2,500 years ago. Several different tickets from the Shandong lottery center of are printed with the cultural themes from region.

The Washington Post: Critics question wisdom of Confucius-brand lottery

China’s official lottery is now offering Confucius-themed lottery tickets adorned with colorful drawings of the ancient philosopher. The tickets have promoted discussion over whether the combination of gambling and his teachings is appropriate.

According to the lottery’s website, the Confucius tickets are intended to teach players about ancient Chinese culture, and to help people live a “healthy, wholesome life.” The site also reports that the Ministry of Finance approved the program, which launched last week in Confucius’ hometown of Qufu.

Critics of the program see gambling standing at odds the spirit of Confucius’ teachings. One anonymous critic on a Chinese forum cited a Confucian proverb, “The gentleman sees righteousness, the petty man sees profit.”

This state-run lottery is the only form of gambling allowed in China. A single Confucius-themed ticket costs 10 yuan (about $1.50) and scratching the ticket reveals a quote from “The Analects,” a compilation of the philosopher’s works. The grand prize ticket is worth 300,000 yuan ($44,000) and will read, “Of all rituals, harmony is the most valuable.”

Global Times: Confucius is a brand name in hometown lottery promo

A picture is worth a thousand words in China’s first welfare lottery based on the ancient philosopher Confucius. His picture and words can also be worth 300,000 yuan ($43,936) if they appear on a winning lottery ticket.

A portrait of Confucius along with sayings of the legendary philosopher show up on lottery tickets that went on sale last week in Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, located in East China’s Shandong Province.

Each ticket is printed with proverbs from The Analects, Confucius’ most famous work. If the sayings on a player’s ticket match the ones drawn by the lottery center, the player wins cash.

The top prize lottery ticket, worth 300,000 yuan ($43,936), will read, “Of all rituals, harmony is the most valuable.”

China’s lottery center believes these new tickets can help educate people about the wisdom of Confucius, but many commenters think it is distasteful to use the ancient philosopher’s words and portrait for profit.

Tang Nianbing, who works in the marketing office of the Shandong Welfare Lottery Center, believes the tickets are a valuable teaching tool. “Everyone in China knows Confucius and The Analects, but not everyone can recite three sentences from it,” said Tang. “People who buy lottery tickets will have a chance to remember several sentences from The Analects, which is a win-win situation.”

Not everyone agrees. An internet poll conducted on a popular Chinese website showed that out of 1,869 voters, 52.6 percent disapproved of a Confucius-themed lottery. Only 4.2 percent were undecided.

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