The CCP’s war against large religious statues continues nationwide: recent casualties from the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, and Zhejiang.
Since last year, the CCP has dismantled numbers of large open-air Buddhist statues in every region of the country under a variety of trumped-up excuses – that statues are too tall or they obstruct the view for pilots. The measures are usually presented as the fight against the commercialization of Buddhism. The real reason, however, is the continuous crackdown on everything religious, making sure that the Chinese only worship the Party and its leaders.
Baiyangdian Grand View Garden is a national 5A-level tourist area, located in Xiong’an New Area of Baoding city in the northern province of Hebei. The park’s 33-meter statue of the “Golden Age Lotus Three-Faced Guanyin,” adored by visitors, was dismantled in March.
According to insiders, the decision to demolish the statue was taken by 12 local government departments on the grounds that it was unlicensed, and that the height of outdoor deities is not allowed to exceed nine meters. In an attempt to preserve the Guanyin statue, the garden’s owner spent more than one million RMB (about $ 150,000) to cover it with a cloth. However, the authorities threatened to close down the park if he refused to dismantle it.
Having no other choice, the owner hired people to dismantle the brass statue that cost about 20 million RMB (about $ 3 million) to build. According to workers who dismantled the statue, people came every day to kneel and worship by the statue during the days of demolition.
“The state doesn’t allow us to burn incense, so we presented a bouquet of flowers to Buddha,” one believer said helplessly. “Who would dare to disobey the CCP? We have no choice.”
In the eastern province of Shandong, a 26-meter-tall bronze-cast rotating Dripping-Water Guanyin statue in the 4A-level Chishan Scenic Area in the county-level city of Rongcheng city was destroyed on the grounds that Fahua Temple, inside which it stood, was unlicensed and the statue was too tall.
The demolition order came toward the end of 2018. Claiming that the statue was being “upgraded and transformed,” it was cordoned-off, prohibiting tourists from approaching. In late April, the Rongcheng city’s Communist Party committee secretary ordered the person in charge of the scenic area to ensure the dismantlement of the Guanyin statue before May 1, claiming that the demand came from the State Administration for Religious Affairs.
A height-adjustable bronze Guanyin statue, over 20 meters in height, stood in the Dayudu Tourism Scenic Area in Ruicheng county, under the jurisdiction of Yuncheng city, in the north-central province of Shanxi. To the sounds of Buddhist music, the statue would slowly ascend, amid surrounding fountains, to reveal itself, the vision attracting numerous visitors. At the end of May, the statue was dismantled at the cost of over 60,000 RMB (about $ 8,700).
According to a scenic area employee, at the end of April, after the authorities discovered the Guanyin statue using a satellite positioning system, a central government-appointed official arrived at the scenic area to supervise the demolition. In an attempt to protect the icon, the person in charge of the scenic area requested permission to modify it, but the official refused and threatened to fire the county’s Party secretary if he did not ensure the demolition.
An 18-meter-tall Guanyin statue that stood on a hilltop in Taizhou city in the eastern province of Zhejiang also appeared too tall and too conspicuous for the local authorities. Completed in 2006 after eight months of work, it was smashed into pieces in late March in just three days.
Video: The 18-meter-tall Guanyin statue was smashed into pieces.