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Thread: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Wuhan Pneumonia

  1. #226
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    social distancing with swords

    Fencing, with built-in social distancing, proves ideal sport for coronavirus pandemic
    By Allison Ward
    The Columbus Dispatch
    Posted Jul 20, 2020 at 11:48 AM
    Fencers say that the sport might be the ideal activity to do right now as it promotes social distancing.

    Like many kids, summer looks a lot different this year for siblings Eleanor and Gavin McClung, who are not allowed to visit public pools, attend large gatherings of friends or go on vacation far from home.

    Fortunately, the Upper Arlington sister and brother, 8 and 14 respectively, still have at least one extracurricular activity their parents find safe: fencing.

    Masks and gloves are already standard equipment for the sport and some competitors now double up on masks, wearing a cotton one underneath the mesh fencing one, which does not have the same protective effect against COVID-19.

    And social distancing? That’s less of a problem for athletes carrying nearly 4-foot-long sabers, epees and foils with the goal of stabbing anyone who comes near them.

    “Innately, it’s a little safer,” said the kids’ mother, Becky McClung. “You’re not in each others’ faces all the time and there are those natural barriers.”

    In fact, fencing might be one of the safest sports right now, a perk that many clubs across central Ohio and nationwide have touted on social media in recent weeks as they’ve welcomed students back since reopening.

    “Fencers try to keep away from each other,” said Stan Prilutsky, head coach at Columbus Fencing & Fitness in Dublin, where the McClungs take lessons. “If you get too close, you’re in trouble.”

    Even though the sport boasts built-in barriers to deter the spread of COVID-19 — including that it only involves two athletes — Isabel Alvarez has reopened Profencing in Lewis Center cautiously, following protocols recommended by USA Fencing, the sport’s governing body.

    “I have an immune deficiency problem,” she said. “Staying in business, staying well and not getting sick, has been a big effort.”

    Finances became extremely tight after nonessential businesses were shut down in the spring, and a slow rebound since it reopened for private lessons has put the academy in jeopardy of shutting its doors for good, Alvarez said. A small Paycheck Protection Program loan and some generous parents who continued paying their children’s fees even when the business was closed have helped her weather the storm so far, she said.

    Anyone entering Alvarez’s building is asked to wear a cotton mask, even while fencing, and students aren’t allowed to store their equipment at the facility. She’s taught students how to sanitize their suits — something they should do anyway — and they’ve done away with ceremonial handshakes, following USA Fencing rule changes.

    So far, Alvarez said she is only seeing about half her regular students, and many of her summer camps with community centers have been canceled. However, she is still doing a few small camps, starting this month. She hopes to begin offering introductory classes for new students and small-group sessions soon.

    “It’s safe to do fencing, and it’s good because the kids need an activity,” Alvarez said. “It challenges the mind and body.”

    One of her students, Elise Lemasters of Delaware, who generally prefers bouts with friends and at tournaments, couldn’t wait for her first private class with Alvarez upon returning to the club.

    “In the car, I told my dad how excited I was, and I typically don’t like having lessons, but I was looking forward to it,” said the 12-year-old, who is the No. 1 female fencer in Ohio under 13.

    Parents at Profencing shared that excitement. Heather Besselman, a mom of four, said she and her two sons who fence, especially 10-year-old Noah, were thrilled when Profencing opened again.

    “Noah needed activity,” said Besselman, of Delaware. “It was time, and they’re taking precautions all across the board.”

    Her children still haven’t been many places, but she feels they’re safe fencing.

    “They’re fully geared up and the chance of saliva going through their mask then through another mask and onto their opponent is slim,” she said.

    While wearing two masks is “weird,” Noah said, it’s now “normal.”

    Normal is what many of Prilutsky’s students have craved these past few months. About 75% of his 150 or so students are back taking regular private lessons.

    While he acknowledged he and other instructors saw some benefits to teaching virtual lessons on Zoom — which focused on technique and footwork — he’s glad to have students back in his 8,000 square-foot facility that boasts 19 fencing strips.

    “One student was crying after her first bout because she was so excited to be back,” Prilutsky said. “There’s been an emotional response to getting back to the sport we love.”

    Gavin McClung admits he was a bit nervous to come back as he felt out of shape after two months away from the club. But it didn’t take long to fall into a rhythm with familiar faces around him.

    “I’ve been excited, too,” the teen said. “There are a lot of people here I haven’t seen in a while.”

    award@dispatch.com

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  2. #227
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    $34-36 M loss for PRC

    Wonder what the U.S. IMAX loss might be...

    Jul 22, 2020 6:57pm PT
    Imax China Warns of $36 Million Half Year Loss
    By Rebecca Davis


    Courtesy of IMAX

    Imax China, the Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of Imax, has warned that it expects a net loss between $34 and $36 million for the first half of the year, as cinema closures in the country due to COVID-19 have slammed exhibition firms.

    The 2020 figures stand in contrast to a net profit of $24 million in the same period last year.

    There are around 700 Imax cinemas in mainland China, nearly all of which have been shut since late January because of the coronavirus.

    A notice posted Tuesday to the Hong Kong stock exchange said the 2020 decrease was primarily attributable to the shutdown and coronavirus slowing the installation of new theater systems. A non-recurring deferred income tax charge and provisions of around $9 million made for trade and financing receivables were also other factors.

    The news comes after China’s largest cinema chain operator Wanda Film said last week that it anticipates net losses of between $214 and $228 million in the first half of the year, down from net profits of $75 million (RMB524 million) during the same period last year. Its 600 complexes have also been shut for nearly that entire time, and its blockbuster “Detective Chinatown 3” indefinitely postponed its late January premiere.

    Despite the downturn, Wanda and Imax struck a 20-theater agreement earlier this month, in which Wanda will upgrade ten of its existing theaters to the latest “Imax with Laser” technology and install Imax systems at ten others. With these upcoming systems, there will be 378 Imax screens across China at Wanda venues.

    Wanda Film’s executive president said that Imax “will be critical in welcoming back to theaters and offering the best possible cinematic experience well into the future.”

    Last year, Imax saw a record-breaking year in China with a box office of $366 million. It may be quite some time before the company sees such highs again.

    Although cinemas began reopening from Monday, the Chinese box office has so far been slow, with theaters earning just $500,000 nationwide their first day back in business. The strong $20.8 million opening weekend of South Korean zombie film “Peninsula” elsewhere in Asia, however, provides some hope of a faster recovery once desirable new blockbusters start hitting screens with regularity again.

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  3. #228
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    Slightly OT - toys not bots...

    ...but I suspect bots are among said toys. Love the denial that these are mostly for 'export' as well as the use of 'spurts' in the title.

    Economy / China Economy
    China’s sex toy makers in growth spurt, as coronavirus lockdowns fuel global appetite
    China’s sex toy exports have increased by 50 per cent this year, according to the Shanghai-based The Paper, with sex doll exports doubling
    Lockdown measures in the US, Britain, Europe, New Zealand and Australia have led to increased demand
    Cissy Zhou
    Published: 7:30pm, 23 Jul, 2020


    China’s overall economy has staged a mild recovery since the outbreak of coronavirus, and the sex toy industry seems to have been able to enjoy a more rapid recovery since the enforced closures and lockdowns. Photo: Reuters

    Sex toy manufacturers in China have seen a surge in orders since the start of the coronavirus, marking one of a few bright spots in an economy battered by the pandemic, according to industry insiders.
    China’s economy, including its manufacturing outlook and exports, crashed at the start of the year at the height of the outbreak with the official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index plunging to an all-time low in February, while exports shrank by 17.2 per cent in January and February combined.
    The overall economy has staged a mild recovery since, and the sex toy industry seems to have been able to enjoy a more rapid recovery since the enforced closures and lockdowns, with one Shandong-based manufacturer reporting a 30 per cent increase in exports and domestic sales.
    Overseas sales manager Violet Du said Shandong-based Libo Technology had increased its production line staff by around 25 per cent to close to 400 since they returned to work at the end of February.
    Our production lines are running around the clock, and our workers are working in two shifts to meet the surging demand
    Violet Du
    France, the United States and Italy have been the most active export markets over the last four months, according to Du, although domestic sales slowed as China began to bring the coronavirus under control.
    “Our production lines are running around the clock, and our workers are working in two shifts to meet the surging demand,” Du said.
    The surge in demand is largely due to lockdown measures, added Du, with exports to the US and some European countries expected to continue to rise as virus containment measures remain in place.
    Dongguan-based manufacturer Aibei Sex Doll Company has also increased staffing levels but has been still forced to turn away orders, according to general manager Lou, who only provided his surname.
    This is a niche market in China, because the Chinese culture is relatively conservative, so all our products are export-oriented, with the US and Europe being the largest market
    General manager Lou
    Aibei produces around 1,500 sex dolls per month, with prices ranging from 2,200 yuan to 3,600 yuan, although Lou insists with a larger capacity, sales could have surged by more than 50 per cent.
    “This is a niche market in China, because the Chinese culture is relatively conservative, so all our products are export-oriented, with the US and Europe being the largest market,” Lou said.
    Large factories in Dongguan can produce around 2,000 dolls per month, with smaller factories producing around 300 to 500, although this is far below the current demand from the US and Europe, added Lou.
    China’s sex toy exports have increased by 50 per cent so far this year, according to the Shanghai-based The Paper, with exports of sex doll doubling. Sex doll exports to Italy have increased fivefold since March, when confirmed coronavirus cases began to emerge.
    Various reports also suggest demand from the US, Britain, Denmark, New Zealand, and Australia increased when lockdown measures were introduced.
    In March and April as coronavirus cases surged, Adam and Eve, a popular sex toy brand in North America, reported that their online sales had increased by around 30 per cent compared to the same period last year.
    Berlin-based sex toy maker Wow Tech Group reported in April that online sales for their We-Vibe and Womanizer brands had increased by more than 200 per cent.
    This totally redefines what 'essential worker' means...

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  4. #229
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    Follow the embedded link for a vid.

    Newsflare
    Shaolin monks disinfect stage and audience area to prepare for performance
    Duration: 01:10 17/06/2020
    Shaolin monks disinfected the stage and the audience area to prepare for the Shaolin Zen Music Ritual outdoor performance in central China's Dengfeng city on June 13. In the video, monks carry pressure sprayers to disinfect the audience area, the stage and the building's roof. According to reports, the Shaolin Zen Music Ritual reopened recently after months' coronavirus lockdown. Only one-third of the seats are available to visitors and social distance are requested.
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    HKIFF44 cancelled

    Variety
    Jul 23, 2020 10:39pm PT
    Hong Kong Film Festival is Canceled as Coronavirus Continues to Take Toll
    By Patrick Frater


    Courtesy of HKIFF

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival, set to have taken place in the second half of August, has been canceled.

    The festival had previously rescheduled its 44th edition from its usual slot in March, due to the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak. It had set Aug 18-31 Aug. instead.

    But, with the city now facing a third wave of the virus, organizers on Friday bowed to the inevitable and announced the cancellation of HKIFF44 and the smaller Cine Fan activities in September and October.

    They said that the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), one of Asia’s longest running film project markets, will go ahead as planned in virtual form. It will run Aug. 26-28.

    “While it is tremendously deflating, given all the hard work that we have put in, the well-being of our colleagues and the public is of utmost importance to us. Calling of HKIFF44 is heartbreaking, but we believe we have a duty to behave with social responsibility,” said Albert Lee, executive director. “We will start working in the next edition of the festival straight away. We are determined to make up for the ‘lost’ HKIFF44.”

    Last month it was announced that Hong Kong FilMart, the largest film rights market in Asia, had given up on plans to be held in physical form this year. Instead, FilMart will migrate to a virtual platform, FILMART Online, running Aug. 26-29, 2020. The problem at the time was not specific to Hong Kong, but more reflected other cities being put on lockdown, and travel difficulties among Asian territories.

    Hong Kong had seemed to manage the disease well through testing, contact tracing and quarantines that stifled a first dose of coronavirus in February, and a second wave in March-April brought on by residents returning from abroad. But the city is now suffering a third wave that is more serious than either of the two earlier outbreaks.

    Cinemas have been closed for nearly two weeks, restaurants and bars must close at 6pm, and mask-wearing has become compulsory on public transport and at all indoor public spaces, such as shopping malls.

    The territory’s government has rejected claims that it created too many quarantine exception categories and allowed new imported cases to restart local infections. But epidemiologists Friday said that is exactly what happened and point to the genetics of the recent COVID-19 cases that consist of strains that were not previously present in the city.

    To date Hong Kong has recorded 2,132 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. It has caused 16 deaths.
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  6. #231
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    indefinitely

    ENTERTAINMENT
    Disney delays ‘Mulan’ indefinitely, Star Wars and Avatar movies pushed back a year
    PUBLISHED THU, JUL 23 20205:00 PM EDTUPDATED THU, JUL 23 20206:42 PM EDT
    Sarah Whitten
    @SARAHWHIT10
    KEY POINTS
    “Mulan” is no longer being released on Aug. 21 and is now “unset” on Disney’s calendar.
    All dated Star Wars films and Avatar sequels have been pushed back one year on the calendar.
    The company said that theater closures and production shutdowns during the global coronavirus pandemic caused it to make a number of adjustments to its slate.


    Liu Yifei stars a Fa Mulan in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Mulan.”
    Disney

    Disney is making some major changes to its release calendar that include delaying “Mulan” from its Aug. 21 release indefinitely and pushing back the debuts of future Star Wars and Avatar movies by a year.

    On Thursday, the company said that theater closures and production shutdowns during the global coronavirus pandemic caused it to make a number of adjustments to its slate.

    “Over the last few months, it’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis, and today that means pausing our release plans for ‘Mulan’ as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world,” a Walt Disney Studios spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.

    Disney shares fell slightly in after-hours trading and were down nearly 1%.

    “Mulan” is currently listed as unset, meaning its release is delayed indefinitely. This is the fourth time that the live-action film has been delayed since March.

    With “Mulan” vacating its August release date, there are now no Hollywood blockbuster releases set for the month. “Tenet” moved out from its August debut on Monday and has yet to announce a new release date. AT&T CEO John Stankey has promised movie theater owners that Christopher Nolan’s spy thriller will have a theatrical release.

    “New Mutants” a 20th Century Fox feature in the X-Men franchise that has been delayed for the last three years, appears to still be on the calendar for Aug. 28, but depending on if movie theaters reopen next month, the film could be pushed again or be delegated to a video on-demand release.

    A number of smaller, independent features are set for release in theaters. However, major theater chains like AMC may not be open to show them. Earlier Thursday, AMC announced that it has pushed back its reopening plans to mid-August after “Tenet” left the calendar. It is unclear how it will react to “Mulan” leaving as well.

    AMC, like other major movie theater chains, has been closed since mid-March, awaiting a slowdown in coronavirus cases and new content from Hollywood. AMC, in particular, had been very vocal about how the pandemic could push it into bankruptcy.

    Earlier this month, the exhibitor was able to reach a debt agreement that should help it remain solvent through 2021.

    “Theaters will again be forced to reassess their target opening dates,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, said. “Archival titles can only get the market so far while the summer weather is conducive to the current drive-in boom. Studios need theaters to be open, and theaters need studios to release new product. Anytime one side of that equation budges, the other has little choice but to follow suit in this current world of uncertainty.”

    Additional slate changes include:

    “The Personal History of David Copperfield” moving to Aug. 28
    “Death on the Nile” is now debuting on Oct. 23
    “The Empty Man” will arrive on Dec. 4
    “The French Dispatch” is unset
    “Antlers” is now dated Feb. 19, 2021
    “The Last Duel” will arrive Oct. 15, 2021
    An untitled Disney Live Action film will take the place of “Avatar 2” on Dec. 16, 2021.
    “Avatar 2” pushed to Dec. 16, 2022
    Untitled Star Wars moved to Dec. 22, 2023
    “Avatar 3” now dated Dec. 20, 2024
    Untitled Star Wars redated to Dec. 19, 2025
    “Avatar 4” will arrive Dec. 18, 2026
    Untitled Star Wars moved to Dec. 17, 2027
    “Avatar 5” now slated for Dec. 22, 2028
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  7. #232
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    Postponed to 2021

    Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Moves to 2021
    Paramount and Hasbro’s G.I. Joe film franchise relaunch, Snake Eyes, will be pushed from its October release date.
    By Joseph Baxter
    |
    July 27, 2020


    Ray Park as Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: Retaliation
    Photo: Paramount Pictures

    Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will silently and stealthily shift its way out of a 2020 film industry schedule that’s been snakebit by the COVID cobra.

    Studio Paramount, which is partnering with property owners Hasbro Toys to produce, plans to move the release of the Snake Eyes film—a prequel intended to relaunch the G.I. Joe film franchise—to an unspecified date in 2021, as revealed by Hasbro (via THR,) in a call about the company’s quarterly earnings report. While the film had been set to hit theaters on October 23, 2020, the companies seem to have concluded that its long-set fall premiere is no longer insulated from the destructive reach of the pandemic, which continues to leave theaters shuttered nationwide.

    Indeed, Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s chairman and CEO, after citing significant COVID-era losses (seemingly due to a variety of reasons, be it the lockdowns to supply chain delays), stated that, “We’re working out the specifics with Paramount,” with regard to a new release date for Snake Eyes. Yet, if we were to take Paramount’s most recent pandemic-pushed release dates—specifically the lengthy 2021 shifts dealt to Top Gun: Maverick and A Quiet Place II—then it’s very possible that Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins could be given a similar quarantine lasting as long as a full year to October 2021. Of course, nothing has been confirmed as of yet, and the release schedule landscape is constantly shifting strategic variables against the health crisis, leaving open every possibility.

    Snake Eyes will manifest as a solo outing focused on the iconic silent black-clad commando and ninja of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 3 ¾” toy line relaunch of the 1980s and ’90s. The character, a heroic member of the G.I. Joe team, is arguably the most famous of the franchise, last seen on the big screen as a dark, silent whirlwind of martial arts mastery in 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and 2013’s G.I Joe: Retaliation, played by Star Wars Darth Maul actor Ray Park (pictured above). This film, however, will see the title character played by Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding, this time mask-less and set to depict the eventually-disfigured and muted character’s tragic backstory, along with his complex relationship with eventual fellow Joe member Scarlett (Samara Weaving) and—another franchise A-lister—white-clad ninja frenemy Storm Shadow (Andrew Koji).

    Make no mistake, Snake Eyes is a major priority for Hasbro and Paramount, which—in a similar approach to 2018’s Bumblebee for the Transformers property—will use the film to launch a new iteration of G.I. Joe films after the general failure of the aforementioned previous entries left the franchise dormant for the past seven years. Indeed, news came as recently as this past May that the company coalition was planning to push ahead with new G.I. Joe films, which would be built upon the prospective success of this character-centric prequel, likely set to retain cast members like Golding, Weaving and Koji, whose characters are integral to the franchise. That last tidbit came after news from last fall revealed that another G.I. Joe solo film was in the works, this one centered on (curiously enough,) Chuckles, a loud-Hawaiian-shirt-clad undercover member of the Joe team.

    For now, the date on which Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will fight for freedom wherever there’s trouble remains a mystery.
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  8. #233
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    Tenet oked for PRC

    Jul 29, 2020 8:26pm PT
    ‘Tenet’ Approved for Theatrical Release in China
    By Rebecca Davis


    Melinda Sue Gordon

    “Tenet” announced Wednesday that it has passed government approvals for a theatrical release in China, an indication that an official release date is now on the horizon.

    The film has released a poster in Chinese, swapping the English tagline “time runs out” for a clarion call to return to cinemas that roughly translates to “make every second count; invade the theaters.”

    Chinese cinemas reopened in regions at low risk for COVID-19 on July 20, taking in $12.6 million in their opening weekend. Currently, around 44% of its cinemas are back in business, but have been required to operate at just 30% capacity to allow for social distancing, as well as reduce their total number of screenings to half their usual tally.

    Additionally, guidelines for reopening released by the National Film Bureau request that cinemas not screen films that are over two hours long — which could potentially pose problems for “Tenet,” which runs at two hours and 31 minutes.

    This directive was soon contradicted, however, by Chinese authorities’ subsequent approval of numerous films longer than two hours for nationwide theatrical release. These include “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and Nolan’s own “Interstellar” — currently scheduled for a theatrical re-run starting Aug. 2 — as well as local blockbusters already in play like “Operation Red Sea.”

    Until the guideline is more formally lifted, it appears that cinemas in different regions under different levels of COVID-19 threat have been given varied amounts of leeway, or at least have been variously willing to stick their neck out and program longer films.

    All eight of the “Harry Potter” films run over two hours, but they are all currently screening as part of the Shanghai International Film Festival.

    Yet at least two cinemas in Beijing said Wednesday in private chats posted to social media that due to the confusion, they currently didn’t dare program approved, available titles over 120 minutes long — even the patriotic blockbuster “Wolf Warrior 2,” which runs 123 minutes.

    Elsewhere in China, however, that film’s re-run has already made $1.1 million since cinemas reopened Monday.

    “Tenet” had to reschedule its release numerous times due to COVID-19 before Warner Brothers this week settled on the unconventional plan of debuting it internationally before it hits North America.

    It is now prepared to open in around 70 countries abroad starting on Aug. 26, including the U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Russia. It will then premiere in select U.S. cities over Labor Day weekend from Sept. 3.

    China is far and away the most important foreign market for “Tenet” director Christopher Nolan’s films.

    The Chinese box office for almost every film he’s made as either director or executive producer has blown away earnings from other territories by a large margin. The only exceptions are “Dunkirk” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” for which China was the second largest market globally behind the U.K., and “Batman Begins,” which hit the Middle Kingdom all the way back in 2005, when its box office was still comparatively nascent.

    Of the Nolan-directed films, “Dunkirk” made $51 million in China in 2017, while “Interstellar” grossed $122 million there in 2014. The “Dark Knight Rises” grossed $52.8 million in 2012 and “Inception” $68.4 million in 2010.

    Films executive produced by Nolan have also seen strong showings in the country. They include “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” with $96 million, “Justice League” with $106 million, “Transcendence” with $20 million, and “Man of Steel” with $63 million.
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    red flag

    Patriotic Activities Mandated to Reopen Religious Venues
    07/24/2020 HAN SHENG

    Places of worship must prove loyalty to the CCP before opening their doors after the coronavirus lockdown. Flag-raising ceremonies are obligatory.
    by Han Sheng

    All religious venues in China were closed for more than five months to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Shaolin Temple on Mount Song in the central province of Henan, the Buddhist holy site reputed as “Number One Temple under Heaven” and renowned around the world for its martial arts school, was no exception.

    As lockdown restrictions were eased, it was allowed to reopen on June 22, but only on the condition that a grand national flag-raising ceremony promoting patriotism and pledging loyalty to the CCP was organized that day. A requirement each place of worship in China must accept if they want to resume their activities in the post-lockdown era.


    Shaolin Temple monks stand in lines for a flag-raising ceremony.

    At 9 a.m. that day, Shi Yongxin, the abbot of the Shaolin Temple, accompanied by about 100 disciples, led the flag-raising ceremony in the rain. After 1,500 years of promoting Buddhism in China, the temple has succumbed to the CCP’s “sinicization” policy, gradually losing its original values and responsibilities.

    “It is so unnatural for monks in traditional robes to take part in a flag-raising ceremony like soldiers,” commented a temple visitor who witnessed the reopening on June 22.

    “Strictly controlled by the state, people of faith must follow the Party’s commands,” another visitor added. “The government thinks that there are too many believers, which it sees as a threat to its regime.”

    Shaolin Temple monks carry a national flag in a marching drill, reminiscent of a military ceremony.



    Proof of “patriotism” has become a prerequisite for religious activity venues to reopen after the lockdown. Even after they are open again, religious activities are still banned or strictly restricted in the name of “epidemic prevention.” Patriotic events, however, are not spreading the virus, according to the CCP.

    The famous Nantai Rock Temple in Quanzhou, a prefecture-level city in the southeastern province of Fujian, was allowed to open its doors on June 21, but only if a flag-raising ceremony was organized. A staff member at the temple said that since the government controls religions and demands to prove loyalty to the state, the venue must now hold flag-raising ceremonies weekly and ahead of each monks’ assembly or other religious activity. The temple has no other choice but to obey. Before a small assembly on July 2, the temple abbot led a flag-raising ceremony for a group of about 30 Buddhists.

    The flag-raising ceremony at the Nantai Rock Temple on July 2.

    The Religious Affairs Bureau of Quanzhou also demands local religious venues to have the national flag on display throughout the week, regardless of the weather: raise it on Monday and lower it on Friday. The flag must be kept in pristine condition—unfaded and undamaged.


    Following a flag-raising ceremony, the Nantai Rock Temple abbot gives a speech, praising President Xi Jinping for his achievements in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

    On June 30, the eve of the 99th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of Qingdao city in the eastern province of Shandong gathered monks in the Zhanshan Temple to watch The Founding of A Party, a film about the history of the CCP. “Promotion of Buddhism and most religious activities in the temple are still banned,” one of the temple’s monks explained, adding that they are not even allowed to gather for traditional morning and evening chants.

    In late June, imams of some state-run mosques in Shandong’s Liaocheng city were demanded by the city’s UFWD to “commemorate the Party’s birthday” and organize believers to hold a flag-raising ceremony on July 1 even though religious gatherings continue to be banned.

    “All mosques, churches, and temples in Liaocheng-administered Linqing city had to hold flag-raising ceremonies; some had over 100 attendees. Is this not a gathering?” a local Muslim questioned the reasoning behind the government’s regulations.
    Buddhism & Communism
    covid
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips

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