TAIPEI, Taiwan - Millions of descendants of Confucius are being listed in an international updating of the Chinese philosopher's more than 2,500-year-old family tree, a Taiwanese newspaper reported Monday.
The laborious task — being conducted in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and several other Asian countries — will include an estimated 3 million descendants when it is completed by 2009, the Liberty Times said.
It said the project was being coordinated in Hong Kong, but did not provide further details.
Confucius, born in eastern China's Shandong Province, lived from 551 to 479 B.C., according to Taiwan's government Web site. For centuries, Chinese and others have been influenced by his main body of work, the Analects, which consists of his responses to questions from 72 disciples who toured the countryside with him during the so-called Warring States Period.
The period continued for about 300 years.
The family tree of Confucius, whose Chinese surname is Kung, has gone through a major updating every 60 years despite the many political upheavals in Chinese history.
It listed 560,000 descendants when it was last updated in 1937, officials say.
Kung Hsiang-chi, identified as a descendant who is responsible for the project in Taiwan, told the Liberty Times the pedigree will for the first time include the philosopher's female descendants, who were never listed before in keeping with the Chinese tradition of allowing only males to carry the family line.
Kung was quoted saying he tried to track down the descendants mainly through classified ads and telephone books.