Shaolin abbot misses Bangkok visit amid probe reports

Updated: 2015-08-04 07:41

By Shi Baoyin and Qi Xin in Zhengzhou(China Daily)

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The abbot of Shaolin Temple was absent from a Shaolin kung fu show in Bangkok on Sunday amid reports that he is being investigated on accusations of immoral behavior and corruption.

However, the temple denied that Shi Yongxin is being investigated and said the abbot still plans to join the Shaolin delegation during its six-day visit to Thailand.

Shi was supposed to lead the delegation, but he sent a letter of apology to the event organizer that said he was too busy with work to attend.

Shi Yongfu, a senior monk at the temple who is heading the delegation, said the Thailand visit aims to promote Buddhist cultural exchanges. He said that Shi Yongxin will arrive in Thailand later but didn't elaborate.

Shi Yongxin's accuser, Shi Zhengyi, had posted a series of allegations on the Internet accusing Shi Yongxin of being an "embezzler and womanizer" with illegitimate children.

A spokesman for the State Administration for Religious Affairs said it has "paid great attention" to the reports, and has asked the Henan provincial Religious Affairs Department to look into the accusations against the abbot.

The Dengfeng Bureau for Religious Affairs said that it has been asked by the national body since Friday to look into claims made against the abbot and that a one-sentence notice will be available on the city government website on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the general manager of Shaolin Intangible Assets Management released a statement online saying that media reports that the abbot is under investigation are false.

Shi Yongxin attended the morning class at the Shaolin Temple as usual on Sunday, an anonymous monk at the temple told Beijing's Mirror Evening News.

"The abbot told us to let the rumors be rumors, that there were no problems either with the Shaolin Temple or himself, and that all disciples should please believe that", he added.

"I have no personal assets. All of them belong to the Shaolin Temple," the abbot told the monks in the morning class, according to the report.

Xinhua contributed to this story.