Chinese Communist Party refuses to process applications for Buddhist and Daoist temples, then goes on a rampage to bring them all down.
Since July last year, the government is coming for the religious sites across the Qinling Mountains, according to a classified document, issued by the United Front Work Department, or UFWD, of China’s northwestern province of Shaanxi, and obtained by Bitter Winter.
In the document, titled Notice Regarding the Enhancement of Standardization Management for Religious Sites in the Midst of the Campaign Against Illegal Constructions on Qinling Mountains, the comprehensive crackdown will focus namely on religious sites with, allegedly, construction violations and incomplete processing – in other words, houses of worship that haven’t been approved by the government.
And the believers’ temples haven’t escaped this government crackdown.
Jade Buddha Temple, which was located in the Huyi district under the jurisdiction of Xi’an city was destroyed at the end of August, after authorities sent personnel to block the intersection leading up to the mountain temple and they demolished it after deciding it was an “unprocessed foreign construction.”
According to an inside source, the local Religious Affairs Bureau, Public Security Bureau, People’s Armed Police, and other departments collaborated to deploy over 100 armed police officers and two excavators to Jade Buddha Temple.
The temple, which took three years to build at the cost of 3,000,000 RMB (roughly $437,480), was leveled in hours.
Jade Buddha Temple after being demolished:
When the builder applied to the Religious Affairs Bureau for a permit, officials refused to process the application, saying that if people wanted to believe in Buddha, they should leave the country, that in China, one must only believe in the Communist Party.
Now, several of the temple monks are left with nowhere to go. In China, sources say, local villagers aren’t allowed to admit monks into their homes. Consequently, some now live at a broken-down temple that leaves them prey to nature’s elements.
In July, Longhua Temple of Taiyi town in the Chang’an district, under the jurisdiction of Xi’an city, was destroyed under the auspices of not having a permit.
Workers demolishing Longhua Temple:
Longhua Temple turned into rubble:
Bitter Winter has previously reported on the campaign against allegedly illegal buildings in the Qinling Mountains, like: on the forced demolition of the thousand-year-old Yaochi Palace Temple in Shaanxi’s Huyi district; the ancient Guanyin Buddhist Temple in Hua county; Fangshan Temple in Weinan city; and Bamboo Forest Taoist Temple, an ancient Daoist temple in Huayin city.
The head of one of the destroyed temples stated that they had gone through the government approval process from the very beginning of construction and yet it didn’t stop his temple from being demolished.
The desecration, naturally, has worshippers and commoners alike, upset.
“It’s just that the government officials have power, they do whatever they want,” one said.
Reported by Yao Zhangjin