The culturally refined scholar was dedicated to teaching younger people Min Zhiting, head of the Chinese Taoist Association, has died in Beijing. He was 80. Master Min, also known by his Taoist name Yuxi, died on Saturday. He spent many years editing Taoist canons, codifying Taoist rites and recording Taoist temple music. He was considered a fine example of the older school of culturally refined Taoist clergy dedicated to passing the tradition to younger generations. Born in Henan in 1924, he took his vow to become a Taoist priest of the Perfect Purity (Quanzhen) Order when he was 18. In his early years he studied music, Taoist scriptures, astronomy and various forms of traditional arts under renowned masters in Wuhan, Hangzhou and Shanghai. Since 1951, he spent most of his time in the Eight Immortals Temple in Xian, gradually rising to national prominence as a religious educator and leader. Moving to Beijing in 1985, he served as vice-chairman and later chairman of the Chinese Taoist Association. He was a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Master Min was a reserved man, but as a national leader of Taoists was often called upon to endorse government policies, especially during the campaign to crack down on the Falun Gong spiritual movement. In his semi-official capacity, he travelled to the United States, along with other religious leaders from China, to bear testimony to the state of religious freedom on the mainland. In Taoist circles in Hong Kong and Taiwan, he won respect in 1990 for recording 69 variations of the Perfect Purity chant, making it possible for the first time to write a musical score for the chant. Until then, it had been handed down orally from generation to generation. Taoism is a native Chinese religion, although it has absorbed influences from Buddhism. Official statistics put the number of Taoist clergy at about 26,000, including both the monastic and secular branches. But the number of believers has always been subject to debate because adherents to Taoism do not necessarily attend religious services on a regular basis. Experts estimate that about 260,000 people - or 10 times the number of registered clergy - are practising Taoists, while the believers are four times as many, at about 100 million. Deeply aware of the Taoist clergy's overall poor educational level, Master Min was active in organising special training classes in Xian. In an interview five years ago, he admitted that many older Taoists were illiterate or barely literate. He also took part in drafting rules of monastic discipline and sought to improve the general image of the Taoist clergy. In his later years, he was pleased to see the emergence of many internet websites on Taoism, especially in the west. A three-day Taoist service will be held at Beijing's White Cloud Temple, the headquarters of the Chinese Taoist Association, beginning today. That will be followed by a secular memorial service at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery at a date to be arranged.