The following is an article from China's Peoples Daily Newspaper on the Shaolin Monk Tours. It gives the Chinese government's official view on the subject:
Monday, March 06, 2000, updated at 13:57(GMT+8)
Shuaifeng, an official of State Administration of Religions said on March 5 that the delegation sent by the Shaolin Temple of Mt. Songshan to perform martial arts abroad is purely a performance of cultural exchange.
The ignominious behavior of assuming the name of Shaolin Temple to peddle something false has seriously hurt the religious feelings of the Buddhists and the Shaolin Temple expressed their resentment against it.
Shuaifeng made these remarks against a number of people who have been recently usurping the name of Shaolin Temple to conduct commercial shows in China and abroad. Reports from some overseas papers said many Shaolin monks went to Las Vegas to perform their martial feats to make money for rebuilding their ruined temple.
Since China carried out the policy of reform and opening up, Shaolin Temple has been restored and renovated with the concern of the government and other walks of life, he said. Many people who've been to the Shaolin Temple can serve witness to the splendid magnificence of the temple. Moreover, recently the government has for many a time allocated money for the restoration and renovation of the temple. Is there any such thing as the "dilapidation" of the temple? No, not a little bit. Those self-styled Shaolin monks alleged that they were allowed to take meat and drink alcohol is a sheer nonsense. Shuai noted those abominable behavior has seriously damaged the reputation of Shaolin Temple, besmeared the image of Shaolin monks, directly violated the basic disciplines that the Chinese Buddhists could only take vegetarian food and remain single unmarried.
Another report from Australia said, a delegation formed of Shaolin Kongfu monks would give performance in Sydney in mid March. This is not true.
So far, Shaolin Temple hasn't sent any delegation out to conduct commercial shows in Australia. In order to protect Shaolin's intellectual property rights, maintain the legal interests of the Shaolin Temple, protect its title property right and reputation from being infringed, Shaolin Temple reaffirmed that any infringement of Shaolin title and Shaolin monks in disguise are illegal behavior.
Shuaifeng said the Shaolin Temple at Songshan has a high reputation in the world. Such case often occurs that someone passes himself off as Shaolin abbot to swindle people. However, there is only one abbot in Shaolin, namely Shi Yongxin abbot, who is the representative of the National People's Congress, chairman of Henan Buddhism Association.
Shaolin Temple of Mt. Songshan is a renowned Buddhist temple in the world and also the place of origin for Shaolin boxing. It holds an important status in China's Buddhism history. First built in 496 the temple has now become a tourist repair, every year attracting tourists in their hundreds and thousands.
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