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08/24/2018 04:01
Top Buddhist monk investigated for sexually harassing nuns

The government agency in charge of religious affairs in China confirmed on Wednesday that the abbot of the Longquan Temple in Beijing had sent sexually harassing messages to nuns.

The National Religious Affairs Administration said it has verified claims that Shi Xucheng sent sexually harassing messages.

The Beijing police are also investigating accusations that the abbot forced nuns to have sexual relations with him, which was included in a report written by monks Shi Xianjia and Shi Xianqi from the temple, the Wednesday release said.

"Shi Xuecheng is suspected of violating Buddhist doctrines. The administration has asked the Buddhist Association of China to deal with the case in accordance with Buddhist doctrines and relevant regulations," the notice said.

A member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, Shi wrote on his Sina Weibo on August 1 that the two whistleblowers "forged materials, distorted facts and spread false information" to mislead the public.

He resigned on August 15 as head of the Buddhist Association of China.

The administration also said that relevant departments are conducting an investigation on the illegal constructions and illegal management of funds of Longquan Temple.

Netizens and experts have expressed concerns that the scandal would affect Longquan Temple's efforts to promote Chinese Buddhism overseas.

A Beijing-based expert on religious issues who requested anonymity told the Global Times that the incident may affect the reputation of the temple as well as affect donations.

"Sexual scandals involving religious leaders happen in other countries, but rarely in China. The incident may affect Longquan Temple's overseas campaign, but would have a limited influence on promoting Chinese Buddhism overseas in the long run," he said.

The report written by Shi Xianjia and Shi Xianqi said Xuecheng has deployed nuns for the temple's overseas programs, and the six nuns whom he had sexually harassed were among his candidates for the overseas programs.

Longquan Temple has been at the forefront of overseas programs after it opened in 2005.

It has built several overseas branches, including one in Utrecht, the Netherlands in 2015, which is the first Chinese Buddhism venue in Europe; one in Los Angeles in June 2016; and one in Botswana in July 2016.

Xuecheng told the Global Times in an exclusive interview in August 2017 that "we have realized that language is key for Buddhism to integrate into global civilization. And talents with language skills are the foundation to promoting Buddhism internationally."

Longquan Temple has established a translation team and began recruiting talent in the field in 2008. The temple has translated Buddhism doctrines and set language courses for monks.

The temple has also opened 16 Sina Weibo accounts in 16 different languages, launched English websites and organized overseas groups to study Buddhism.

Source: globaltimes.cn

Top Buddhist monk investigated for sexually harassing nunsThe National Religious Affairs Administration said it has verified claims that Shi Xucheng sent sexually harassing messages. The Beijing police are also investigating accusations that the abbot forced nuns to have sexual relations with him, which was
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