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Temple and the lies

(Shanghai Daily)

08:39, October 14, 2011

China's Shaolin Temple yesterday made a public announcement rejecting online rumors that its abbot financially supported a female university student as his mistress, raised their son in Germany and had been caught by police for visiting prostitutes.

The temple said the rumors were "vicious lies weaved out of nothing but caused great damages to its abbot Shi Yongxin and the Buddhist temple itself."

The temple has reported the case to police so they can investigate.

The temple is also inviting anyone who has any evidence to show that Shi has violated any laws or the temple's regulations, as the rumors allege, to report directly to it or to the police via e-mail or telephone on [email protected] or 86-371-62749305.

It is also asking for any evidence that can lead police to the persons or groups that "viciously weaved the lies and spread the rumors."

It promised that anyone who came up with useful evidence could receive a cash reward of up to 50,000 yuan (US$7,834) or a free two-day stay at the temple in central China's Henan Province to experience the Shaolin life.

The online rumors also alleged that the abbot held at least US$3 billion in overseas accounts and had private villas in the United States and Germany.

They said Shi had been financially supporting a young woman called Li Jingqian, a graduate of Peking University. The rumors said Shi had raised a son with the woman and they were both living in Germany.

According to some Chinese news websites, the rumors had been declared to be true by a German radio station.

Previously, other rumors had been circulating online that Shi had been caught paying for sex in Henan Province during a police raid to crack down on prostitution.

However, the temple responded to say that Shi was "performing a Buddhist service for the prostitute, rather than having sex with her."

Shi, the temple's 30th abbot, was previously mired in controversy for vigorously promoting commercial development of the ancient temple.

He initiated the opening of a Shaolin pharmacy and monks have visited many countries to perform kung fu shows. He also attracted wide public attention when he was spotted in a luxurious SUV car and using an iPad in public.

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