Several Buddhist temples in Henan have been tarnished or demolished by the Chinese authorities.
On April 4, 21 Buddhists in Henan’s Gongyi city were arrested while they were reading scriptures in a building’s basement. It was only after Ms. Zhang, the person in charge there, paid 50,000 RMB (or a little over 7,300 USD) in bribes to the police that they were all released from detention.
An abbot said, “CCP is retreading the path of the Cultural Revolution to eradicate religious belief. This is evil!”
Meanwhile, three temples in the city were shut down, and two culturally protected temples were destroyed. At the Prince Guo of Fenyang Temple, after prohibiting the burning of incense sticks, the authorities used a hammer drill to remove the incense receptacle. Five large incense burners were removed using a forklift truck. They were later covered with sheets of plastic and iron as well.
In Gongyi’s Xicun town, the historic Wuyue temple was not spared either. It is a Ming era temple and until now, was designated as a culturally protected site. Ever since the revised Regulations on Religious Affairs came into effect in February, the authorities have banned incense-offering activities at the temple. In June, the temple was closed down.
In Shangqiu and Zhengzhou cities, a total of three temples were demolished, and another two were forcibly shut down.
In the city of Xinzheng, the Chinese Communist Party shut down the Fengtai Temple on the grounds that it was “illegally constructed.” The Northern Xingguo and Dizang temples were also shut down. A statue of Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, was erected at the entrance of the Zhengxin Temple. A portrait of him was also installed inside the temple, against the wishes of the temple authorities and believers.
Reported by Jiang Tao
Jiang Tao (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), aged 42, is from Henan Province. He previously served as a magazine editor and has long been concerned about vulnerable groups that are being persecuted in China. He has written a variety of commentaries probing human rights issues in China, and his articles have been published in international journals. After leaving his magazine job in 2015, he started visiting and interviewing persecuted religious groups and other vulnerable groups and gathering information about incidents. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018, and since then is dedicated to reporting the persecution incidents in Henan, Shanghai, Anhui, and other regions.