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At first glance - both on the map and upon arrival - Qufu is an unassuming place to visit. Located some 500 kilometres south of Beijing in Shandong Province, its urban population stands at 60,000. This figure extends to 650,000 people when incorporating the surrounding countryside of its administrative region. In comparison to China's large urban centres, Qufu is 'off the beaten track'. For many, of course, this in itself is an attraction. True, there are many townships like Qufu dotted throughout China. What distinguishes Qufu from any other provincial town, however, is a philosopher who lived two-and-a-half thousand years ago.