The CCP’s campaign to “exterminate Buddha” is reaching new levels of oddness: a temple in Henan Province has replaced Buddhist deities with revolutionary leaders.
The temple, located on Qinglong Mountain, about two kilometers west of Zhangpo village in Jiliao town, under the jurisdiction of Ruzhou city in Henan, was built as a Buddhist place of worship with private funds, but it could not get a religious venue registration certificate because of the ever intensifying CCP’s campaign to “exterminate Buddha.”
The owner came up with an ingenious plan to make the temple functional and official: he replaced the statues of deities with those of revolutionary leaders. And it worked – the local Religious Affairs Bureau designated the temple a “red patriotic education base,” and Party followers are swarming to the “Chairman Mao Buddha Temple” to pray and worship. But not the Buddha.
One national flag has been placed on top of the temple’s roof and two on either side of the entrance, next to the statues of horseback former revolutionary leaders: On the left is Hua Guofeng (1921-2008) – Mao Zedong’s handpicked successor and the former CCP Chairman and Premier; and on the right – Dong Biwu (1886-1975), one of the founders of the People’s Republic of China.
Right after entering the temple compound, a large statue of Mao Zedong catches the eye. Verses deifying Mao as the “Buddha” are engraved on the statue’s base: “Lord Mao is the new Jade Emperor, who controls the heavens, the earth, and the human world;” “Taoism and Buddhism will be attributed to the teachings of Mao Zedong.”
Also bizarre is the floor painting inside the temple: the typically white-and-black two-swirl symbol of yin and yang, representing dualism in the ancient Chinese philosophy, has a third, yellow swirl and a red dot in the center added. According to a woman in the temple, this circle represents Mao Zedong who is the “red sun.”
The temple has two floors, with grand halls on both: the Imperial Mansion Hall on the first and the Buddha Golden Hall on the second, where, in a strange companionship, the statues of Buddhist deities and China’s communist leaders are displayed. The figure of Mao Zedong, placed in the middle of the second-floor hall, is called the “Celestial Deity Buddha.” Next to it are statues of two other revolutionary heroes: One, called “Meridian Giant Buddha,” is dedicated to Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China, and the other one of Zhu De (1886-1976), a general and one of the pioneers of the CCP, called “Heaven-Piercing Giant Buddha.”
Photos of China’s marshals and military leaders, including China’s Defense Minister in the late 50s Peng Dehuai (1898-1974) are displayed on the walls, and five donor recognition plaques in the temple acknowledge the donors for their input “to build Chairman Mao Buddha Temple.”
Compared to many other temples in China that have been suppressed or demolished, the “Chairman Mao Buddha Temple” is very lively, with numerous “believers” kowtowing and burning incense on traditional Chinese holidays.
One villager said, “Mao Zedong was obviously a human, and he was an atheist. During the Cultural Revolution, he called on people to eliminate all ‘cow demons and snake spirits.’ Now, people worship him as the Buddha. It’s really bizarre!”
Despite his bloody legacy, Chairman Mao continues to be deified by many in China. “Mao Zedong Thought” remains enshrined in China’s constitution, and the current CCP regime continues to follow in his footsteps in eradicating religions. In a speech marking Mao’s 120th birthday in 2013, President Xi Jinping stated that “because leaders made mistakes, one cannot use these mistakes to completely negate their legacies, wipe out historical successes, and descend into the quagmire of historical nihilism.” Apparently, not only that – they are now replacing gods.