Religious leaders may have said 'yes' to making Confucius' birthday a public holiday, but some lawmakers think otherwise. Legislators voted down a motion yesterday that proposed establishing a Confucius Day. Lee Cheuk-yan, from the Confederation of Trade Unions, was not convinced that modern social problems could be solved solely by promoting the more than 2,000-year-old teachings of the philosopher. 'Others are talking about the post-80s, and you are talking about something founded before Christ,' Lee said. The motion, moved by Chan Kam-lam of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, called on the government to promote Confucianism in order to revive moral values and strengthen family ties. It also sought to introduce moral education courses in schools that would teach traditional Chinese cultural thinking. Confucius' birthday should be made a public holiday, the DAB's Wong Ting-kwong said in his amendment to the motion. Both Chan's original motion and Wong's amendment were voted down. Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan was worried the government would use Confucianism as a political tool. 'I don't want the combination of politics and religion, or to see Confucianism used to strengthen the rule of a class.' Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said the government encouraged Hongkongers to celebrate Confucius' birthday, but that public consent was necessary to make it an official holiday. Taoist, Islamic, Buddhist and Christian leaders had voiced support for the idea of a public holiday, the Confucian Academy said. Meanwhile, a DAB survey of 356 people showed 54.2 per cent backed the proposal, while 59.3 per cent agreed that promoting Confucianism could relieve social problems such as domestic violence and weak moral standards. The government was not doing enough to promote the teachings, according to 87.1 per cent.