China’s Shaolin Temple, with a history of more than 1,500 years, is located at Song Mountain in Henan Province. On Monday August 27, at 7:00 am, the temple held its very first national flag-raising ceremony. The abbot, Shi Yongxin, led the ceremony. A number of local officials, including a CCP Standing Committee member from Dengfeng City, participated in the flag-raising ceremony.
The official media stated that the raising of the national flag in religious venues matches with the theme of the Shaolin Temple, which is “patriotism and love for the religion.” The Shaolin Temple has taken the lead. It is hoped that religious people and religious believers will continue to enhance their respect for the national flag and adhere to the Sinicization of religion in mainland China.
Radio Free Asia contacted a monk from the Shaolin Temple who said that the authorities demanded that the national flag should be hung. There was no way for the temple not to obey. He did not dare to make too many comments.
Chen Shiqi, a senior lecturer at the Department of Religion and Philosophy of Hong Kong Baptist University said, “The authorities want to look for a role model in Buddhism. Of course, the best candidate is the Shaolin Temple. Because of its fame and its martial arts, the authorities use the Shaolin Temple as a symbol. If the Shaolin Temple follows their lead, all other Buddhist temples will also follow suit and hang the national flag. In the end the Christians and Catholics will also raise the flag.”
On July 31, the sixth assemblage of the joint meeting of national religious groups was held in Beijing. It issued the “Initiative on Raising the National Flag at Religious Venues.”
Source: Radio Free Asia, August 28, 2018