China’s Most Senior Buddhist Monk Denies Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Venerable Xuecheng (学诚), China’s highest-ranking Buddhist monk, has publically denied recently leaked allegations that he sexually harassed several Buddhist nuns and coerced them into sexual relationships. The accusations were leveled in a 95-page document sent to the government by two former monks at Longquan Temple in Beijing, where Ven. Xuecheng is based.
The president of the Buddhist Association of China, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and the abbot of the historic Longquan Temple, Ven. Xuecheng is the latest figure to be accused of sexual abuse as the #MeToo movement has gained traction in China, after a slow start in the country, and the latest in a series of high-profile Buddhist teachers around the world to be accused of sexual impropriety.
The 95-page report containing the allegations, authored by two former female monastics at Longquan Temple, Xianjia (贤佳) and Xianqi (贤启), was leaked via social media in China on 31 July. The document alleges that Ven. Xuecheng sexually harassed multiple female monastics over a period of years, and attempted to persuade them that they could be “purified” through physical contact.
In a statement published on the Chinese social media network Weibo on Wednesday, Longquan Temple refuted the accusations, stating that the two monastics had “forged materials, distorted facts, and spread false information,” with “illegal intentions to maliciously frame Abbot Xuecheng,” and to “mislead the public.” The statement added that the temple would urge the government to conduct a full investigation into the matter. (Global Times, BBC, SupChina)
The report includes records of explicit text messages allegedly sent by Ven. Xuecheng to his targets. According to the accusations detailed in the document, Ven. Xuecheng coerced or threatened at least six nuns into engaging in sexual relationships, of whom four allegedly gave in to his advances.
The document also contains a written account by Xianjia, one of the alleged victims. The essay alleges that during a two-month stay at Longquan Temple this year, Xianjia received repeated vulgar messages from Ven. Xuecheng, who also made repeated unwanted advances. “My belief system almost collapsed,” Xianjia writes. “I even considered giving up Buddhism and returning to secular life.” (SupChina)
According to an anonymous sourced cited by China’s Global Times, Ven. Xuecheng was questioned by the authorities several days ago before being released.
High-ranking Chinese monk accused of sexually harassing nuns (BBC)
China's top Buddhist monk denies accusations of sexual harassment (Straits Times)
China’s highest-ranking Buddhist monk accused of sexually harassing nuns (Global Times)
Abbot Of Beijing Longquan Temple Denies Sexual Abuse Allegations (SupChina)
严正声明 (Venerable Xuecheng Weibo)
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