Authorities across China are confiscating books by Venerable Master Chin Kung, a prominent Buddhist monk whose teachings have been banned by the CCP.
by Wang Yichi
In October 2019, officials from various government institutions, including the Religious Affairs Bureau, raided a Buddhist hall in Linzhou, a county-level city of Anyang in the central province of Henan, and confiscated all Buddhist books there, which they ordered to bury.
A local Buddhist told Bitter Winter that most of the books were by Venerable Master Chin Kung, a 92-year-old monk of Pure Land, a school of Mahayana Buddhism founded by him, revered around the world for propagating intercultural and interfaith harmony. The officials claimed the books were confiscated because the Master’s teachings are banned since the CCP labeled them as “illegal,” even “heretical,” “indoctrinating believers and affecting China’s mainstream ideology.” Moreover, the books were published in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and reading them constituted “colluding with foreign forces.”
About a month later, the local government designated the Buddhist hall as an “illegal construction” because it “has not been approved by the government and unlawfully occupied arable land.” All windows and doors were boarded up, and the water and electricity supply cut off. The person in charge of the hall was driven out of the area.
According to a villager, the hall was built on a barren hill, and the land had never been used to grow crops. Furthermore, the person in charge had been paying rent for the land to the village committee for ten years before the Buddhist hall was built.
“The government does not allow people to practice their faith, regardless that the Constitution expressly provides for the freedom of religion,” the villager said helplessly. “If you try reasoning with authorities, they will punish you. We can’t do anything about it.”
The onslaught on Master Chin Kung’s teachings is spreading across China. A decree on the implementation of the nationwide campaign to “eradicate pornography and illegal publications,” issued in 2019 in a locality of the northern province of Hebei, demands to investigate Buddhist venues and confiscate all “illegal publications and printed materials by Master Chin Kung and the Amitabha Buddhist Association” in the name of “national political and ideological security” and “resistance to infiltration by foreign forces.”
Guanyin Temple in the Liangyuan district of Henan’s Shangqiu city was raided on November 11 for using Master Chin Kung’s books. A local Buddhist told Bitter Winter that law enforcement officers filled four pickup trucks with the confiscated books. They threatened to arrest anyone who continues following the Master’s teachings and reading his books.
“These books promote the true teachings of Buddha and teach everyone how to be good and kind,” a Buddhist woman said. “Why confiscate them? The CCP just tramples on the people of faith.”
The same month, a Buddhist temple in the prefecture-level city of Tai’an in Shandong Province in eastern China was ordered to burn nearly 100 books by Master Chin Kung. A local official revealed that the government was inspecting religious venues, and if these books were not burned and discovered by the higher-ups, local leaders would get into serious troubles.
On May 21, Huanglin Temple in Shishou, a county-level city in the central province of Hubei, was raided for keeping Master Chin Kung’s books. According to a local Buddhist, officials from the city’s United Front Work Department, Public Security Bureau, and other government institutions who came with the raid ordered to burn the books “because they were illegal since the government did not approve them.” A garbage collector took away all the books worth 10,000 RMB (about $ 1,400). The Buddhist said that before the assault in May, officials ordered to install a flagpole with the national flag at the temple.