Asia Pacific / Social Issues

Leading Chinese Buddhist monk accused of sexual misconduct

AP, Reuters

One of China’s highest-ranking Buddhist monks is facing a government investigation after he was accused of demanding sexual favors from nuns.

Longquan Monastery abbot Shi Xuecheng is accused of harassing and demanding sexual favors from numerous female nuns in a 95-page statement compiled by two fellow monks at the storied Beijing monastery. The statement including testimony from the alleged victims leaked this week on social media, prompting an outcry and unusual coverage by state media before it was censored.

China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs said Thursday it would investigate the claims. Xuecheng and the monastery denied the accusations.

Xuecheng heads the Buddhist Association of China and serves on a political advisory body to the central government. He has published numerous books and has a large social media following.

Included in the statement were extensive details and screenshots of explicit text messages allegedly sent by Xuecheng, including claims to nuns that they could be “purified” through the physical contact and that sex was part of their study of religious doctrines.