Government officials ordered to modify a new Buddhist-themed mural in Shanxi Province, claiming that it was a serious “political issue.”
In mid-August, a group of university students was asked to paint a mural in a village of Shanxi’s Taiyuan city as part of their volunteer work to “beautify villages.” Following local Buddhist traditions, the students painted a mural of a young meditating nun. However, the village head rebuked the students for “promoting religion,” saying that the mural “detracted from the village’s image, and was a political mistake,” and ordered them to alter it.
The students modified the mural by changing the hairstyle of the nun to make her look like a young girl. However, on August 17, the locals discovered that even the “improved” mural had been replaced by a painting depicting “family happiness.” One of the students explained helplessly that the village head told him that the mural was too close to a school, and since it was related to Buddhism, it would “affect children’s thinking,” ordering to replace the painting.
Chinese authorities are implementing the policy to “beautify the rural environment” aiming at creating “a healthy, uplifting ‘new village’ cultural atmosphere,” which is most frequently implemented by commissioning murals that depict core socialist values, poverty alleviation policies, and praises to the Communist Party. Older villagers have commented that such “beautifications” are reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution when praises for the Communist Party appeared ubiquitously.
Reported by Feng Gang