Shaolin Temple raises national flag for first time in 1,500 years

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/27 22:23:40

Monks at the Shaolin Temple in Central China's Henan Province, as well as local religious authorities, attend the flag-raising ceremony on Monday. Photo: courtesy of the Shaolin Temple

For the first time in its 1,500-year history, China's national flag on Monday flew above the Shaolin Temple in Central China's Henan Province.

The flag of the People's Republic of China, also known as the five-star red flag, was raised at the world-famous Buddhist kung fu monastery in Songshan Mountain in Dengfeng,  Henan on Monday in front of officials and monks.

Shaolin Temple Abbot Shi Yongxin, temple monks and overseas followers, as well as officials from Dengfeng's United Front Work Department and the Dengfeng Religious Affairs Administration, attended Monday's ceremony, according to a Shaolin Temple website release on Monday.

"This is the first time the Shaolin Temple has held a flag-raising ceremony since it was established in 495 AD," a lay Buddhist responsible for managing the temple website told the Global Times on Monday.

He said that raising the flag was consistent with the government's requirement to "bring the Constitution, new law, socialist core values and excellent traditional Chinese culture into religious venues."

Raising the flag "also shows our love for the country and the religion," he said.

Heads and representatives of national religious groups, including the Buddhist Association of China, the Taoist Association of China, the Islamic Association of China, and the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China proposed in July that all religious venues should raise China's national flag to "strengthen awareness of respect for the flag and preserve the flag's dignity."

The flag must be raised at religious venues on National Day and other important festivals and celebrations of each religion, according to a proposal at a conference of religious groups in Beijing in July.

Shi was quoted in the release as saying that Shaolin decided to actively respond to the proposal and hold the ceremony.

Raising the flag would help religious groups increase their awareness "as Chinese citizens" and help them "better practice socialist core values and stick to the way of the sinicization of religions by integrating religious doctrines into Chinese culture," the temple release said.

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