Shaolin Temple refutes rumors on 'CEO abbot'

Updated: 2011-10-17 15:00


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A member of China's most famous Buddhist temple claims Internet rumors about its abbot's personal life are a smear campaign because he refused to allow the Shaolin Temple to be listed on the stock market, the Oriental Morning Post reported on Monday.

Hao Jiantong with Shaolin foreign affairs office claims allegations about Shi Yongxin – which include he has a mistress, a child and $3 billion in overseas accounts, may offend stakeholders who wanted to see the 1,500-year-old temple listed on the stock market as a tourist venture.

A report of December 2009 said that "Shaolin Temple would be listed on the markets in 2011" in a joint venture worth 100 million yuan, sparking a fierce response from the temple refusing the deal.

Earlier this year Internet rumors began to appear suggesting Shi had been financially supporting a young woman called Li Jingqian, a graduate of Peking University. It alleged Shi had raised a son with the woman and they were both living in Germany.

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.

Last Thursday the Shaolin Temple published a statement on its website saying the rumors are groundless, "viciously fabricated" slander and invited anyone with information to contact the temple.

The temple claims revenue from entrance tickets adds up to 100 million yuan ($15.4 million) to 200 million yuan and 70 percent of the revenue belongs to the local government.

"We request relevant departments to come to investigate the case and if Shi Yongxin did wrong, it will not be tolerated," Hao said.

Shi was born in 1965 and became abbot of the temple in 1999. He is known as the "CEO monk" because of his tendency to run the temple like a business.