The Chinese government keeps up its destruction of Buddhist temples and statues, even ruining the ones they’ve spared.
As if destroying holy temples, statues and relics isn’t enough, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is going after colors it deems too religious, like the yellow and dark red that have come to symbolize Buddhist temples.
Starting on October 30, 2018, the yellow exterior walls of Wenchang Pavilion, in southeast Jiangxi Province’s Ruichang city, were painted white – and it took more than 20 sanitation workers to do the job in a week.
The outer walls of Wenchang Pavilion in Jiangxi Province’s Ruichang city are being painted:
“The municipal government said that the yellow color of our temple’s outer walls was too conspicuous and ordered the walls to be painted white,” one of the temple’s monks said. “The municipal government repeatedly called us and sent WeChat messages to threaten us. If we didn’t do what they say, the government would come up with all sorts of reasons to shut down or demolish the temple. If we didn’t follow the path of ‘sinicization,’ those would be the consequences. One temple in Jiujiang city’s Lushan district was demolished because it didn’t follow the government’s requirements.”
In eastern Anhui Province’s Chizhou city, Mount Jiuhua, located in Qingyang county, is one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains. Last year, it was subjected to a full-scale crackdown. Temples in neighboring areas were also unable to escape the fate of undergoing a “facelift.”
According to a source, around October 2018, Qingyang county government convened a meeting of the Party branch secretaries of each village. At the meeting, the authorities deemed that roughly 90 million people currently believed in the Communist Party while 200 million people believed in Buddhism and, well, that just couldn’t be allowed to continue.
So, the government went on another rampage, against Buddhism, against Mount Jiuhua and the temples in the neighboring villages. They demanded that each temple be painted white and the burning of incense cease.
That month, the originally yellow-colored exterior walls of Xifeng Temple in the county were painted white. In Chizhou city’s Guichi district, bordering Qingyang county, the appearance of Buddhist venues was also changed.
On October 22, the outer walls of Guanyin Temple, located in Guichi’s Meijie town, were painted white. Along with two temples in Guichi’s Wusha town, the yellow-colored exterior walls of Tanghua Temple – located in Guichi’s Niutoushan town – which cost more than one million yuan and took nearly eight years to build – were painted white. Buddhist-related symbols and incense burners were also destroyed, and the temples were shut down.
“Even Mount Jiuhua is facing a crackdown. There is nothing we can do about it. Government personnel go there almost every day to conduct inspections,” one local monk in Guichi said.
Last October, the yellow walls of Huayan Temple in Hubei Province’s Huangshi city were also painted white, and the Chinese characters of “Amitabha” (阿彌陀佛) on the wall was replaced with the phrase: “The country flourishes and the people live in peace.” The temple’s name, “Huayan Temple,” was also replaced by the name “Fulin Gate.”
“Personnel from the Religious Affairs Bureau said that every religious venue must be ‘sinicized,’” a source said. “[The temple] has to pay for these projects. Thirty thousand RMB (about $4,290) was spent just to paint the walls, to remove words and for other ‘rectification’ projects.”
In November, Yangsi Temple in Huangshi city was also painted white. Government personnel claimed they’re creating a civilized city and that the temple’s red pillars and Buddhist symbols affected the city’s appearance.
Reported by Yang Luguang