China: Around The Nation

Buddhas on the roof ... unauthorised temple in eastern China draws attention of authorities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 11:43am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 1:28am

Religious authorities are investigating a rooftop temple with large Buddha statues built by a real estate developer in eastern China on his commercial building.

Residents said business friends of the developer burned joss sticks at the open-air temple in Hefei, Anhui province, news portal reported.

The five-storey building is the marketing centre of a shopping and office complex.

A local shop owner told reporters the statues were completed along with the marketing centre around 2011.

“I was curious at that time, and I went to the third floor of the building with others to see the Buddha’s feet,” the shop owner was quoted as saying.

The building is taller than most other constructions nearby, so the entire temple can only be seen from the roof of a neighbouring hotel, according to the report.

A local religious affairs official told reporters he would look into the case, as rules forbid the setting up of Buddha statues on a roof.

Religious activities, including building temples and erecting Buddha statues, are highly regulated in mainland China.

In 1996, the state council issued a notice ordering local governments to curb the trend of building temples and outdoor Buddha statues, to “help maintain social stability and strengthen socialist morality”.

Approval from religious authorities at city, provincial and national levels is needed before erecting a Buddha statue outdoors, the notice states.

The local official said permission was not sought for the rooftop temple.