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Chinese government orders Buddhist monastery to “rectify” architecture of temple

Buddhist monastery in China ordered to change Tibetan architecture

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The Chinese authorities have said the architecture of a main hall in Anfu Buddhist temple in China violates “Han Buddhist principles” and must be “rectified,” an obtained local government order shows.

The notice given on 13 May by the National and Religious Affairs Bureau of Du’an Yao Autonomous County warns that the main hall should meet “Han Buddhist principles” within ten days.

Those in charge of the temple must remove the stupa, prayer wheel which also has a Buddhist design, the document adds.

“We hereby order your temple to start rectifying the stupa and mahavira hall within two days (wheel should be rectified before 16 May 2019 and stupa and Mahavira hall should be rectified within ten days before 26 May 2019) from the date of receipt of this notification,”

the order said.

It added:

“In case of the rectification being overdue, our bureau will impose punishments on you according to law and regulations.”

Forceful demolitions are among the possible punishments for defying the order or not making the changes within the given time limit.

Anfu is based near Disu Town, Du’an Yao Autonomous County in Guangxi. The small monastery is renowned and has been a site of pilgrimage for thousands of Buddhists from neighbouring provinces.

On 23 May the Weibin District Buddhist Association of Weibin District in Shaanxi Province, north China, issued a similar notice to monasteries under its jurisdiction with backing from the government.

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The order in Weibin called for Buddhist objects of worship with Tibetan designs like the Tibetan Vajra Bell, prayer wheels with Tibetan mantras and Tibetan prayer flags to be banned in the district.

The Chinese government has boosted efforts to “sinicise” religion in the country since 2015 - to transform it so that it has “Chinese characteristics.”