Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst ... 234
Results 46 to 58 of 58

Thread: Shaolin commercialism

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    My writing often consists of my log of meditational distractions

    Is this a good place for me to plug my book?

    Yes, I think so.

    Shaolin Trips
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    The story so far

    There's nothing in this article that avid readers of our forum don't already know, but it's a decent overview of recent events.
    Kung fu under attack
    China's Shaolin temple is the home of kung fu. But are tourism and Hollywood ruining the warrior dream?
    Tania Branigan
    The Guardian, Tuesday 24 May 2011

    Martial arts pupils practising at the Shaolin temple. Photograph: Sipa/Press Rex

    The moon is the finest sliver of pale gold in the blackness lying over the Songshan mountains. The wind is rushing down into the valley, shaking the nests of azure-winged magpies, rustling the bamboo and catalpa blossoms and jangling temple bells . . .

    "HUNNGGHHH!" Foot thwacks against thigh.

    "HAAARRRGGH!" Flesh smacks on to flesh.

    It is 8pm on a Saturday evening, but – though you can barely discern them through the mist and shadows – diligent grey-suited teenagers are still pivoting, kicking and punching on the otherwise peaceful slopes above the legendary Shaolin temple.

    Welcome to the home of kung fu: a Buddhist monastery, renowned for its warrior monks and inspiration to martial arts enthusiasts around the world, on the dusty outskirts of Dengfeng in the impoverished and otherwise unloved province of Henan.

    Here, 60,000 students aged from five to 40 come to hone their fighting skills, plan their careers and dream of their calling.

    With next month's release of the children's animated film Kung Fu Panda II, interest in the leopard, tiger, snake, dragon and crane styles of combat practised here looks set to boom. Many of the pupils arrive with about as much talent as Po before his dumpling-fuelled epiphany. Each one shares his dream – to become an all-action hero.

    And although only a handful may ever make it, that aspiration is enough to keep them leaping and sparring long into the night.

    The legend of the Shaolin monks began around 1,500 years ago. The emperor Xiaowen is said to have ordered the construction of a temple, deep in a mountain forest, in honour of a wandering Indian monk. By the 13th century, it was home to around 2,000 monks, famed for their virtue and skill in martial arts – usually referred to in China as wushu rather than gongfu (kung fu).

    "In history, [Shaolin] represented justice, uprightness, sympathy and love," says Wang Yumin, the temple's foreign liaison officer, incongruously clad in a Las Vegas, Nevada T-shirt.

    By 1928, when a warlord set fire to the complex, its glory days were long gone. In the 60s, Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution would ravage what remained. When religion re-emerged from the shadows, with the country's reform and opening up three decades ago, there were just 11 "mostly quite elderly" monks in the crumbling buildings.

    Shaolin's renaissance is largely the work of a kung fu movie and a very modern monk. In 1982, wushu champion Jet Li appeared in the film Shaolin Temple. It made him an instant star – and Shaolin an instantly recognisable name.

    Meanwhile, another young man was making his mark. Shi Yongxin, the son of a farmer and a factory worker from next-door Anhui province, had just joined the monastery and would become its abbot in 1999. Under his watch, its fame has spread as warrior monks tour the world demonstrating their martial prowess.

    But for Shi this is just the beginning. "We are trying to spread the temple's values of Shaolin and Buddhism more widely," he says. "Even though it is really famous now, it is still some way from its [historical] skill and reputation."

    In early morning, the grey courtyards of Shaolin appear much as they would have done centuries ago. There is nothing to break the tranquillity until a young monk walks through the sleeping quarters at 4am, beating a wooden board to wake his 300 peers.

    Morning prayers are followed by a breakfast of rice porridge with vegetables and – for the 100 warrior monks – two eggs apiece. The extra protein fuels their morning training – itself a form of Chan (better known as Zen) Buddhist practice – while others meditate.

    But at 8am the gates open and the outside world crowds in. Tourist buggies shuttle through the grounds and the monks disperse to sell incense to pilgrims and begin their half-hourly kung fu performances. At weekends there are so many visitors that the monks dispense with afternoon prayers, says Wang.

    Amid the bustle, Liao Chao pauses for a moment, carefully holding up his cameraphone and clicking to capture his first visit to the monastery. For the past 10 years – since leaving school at 14 – he has laboured in a factory in southern Guangdong province, working his way up to become manager. Now he has another ambition: to train here as a wushu coach.

    "I've loved martial arts since I was little, but my family were poor and I have four brothers and sisters," he says. "Now I have enough savings, I can come and study here. I've admired [the monastery] for a long time. I've been waiting so long and today I finally get to see it. This is why I kept working so hard: this has always been my dream."

    For admirers such as Liao, the temple stands for the moral and physical strength of kung fu. But for others the magic of Shaolin is wearing thin. Many of the tourists seem slightly bored as they watch the warrior monks' performance, consisting mostly of striking poses, though they perk up when one breaks a wooden stave over the other's back.

    "To tell you the truth, I thought the show wasn't that good," says Belgian tourist Raphael Doumont. "This place is really nice but the problem is the business part. It's a little bit fake. You see these kiosks . . . I know it is 2011, but there's something I don't like."

    Though Doumont is a foreigner, such criticisms are common even in Dengfeng, where people value the income Shaolin has brought but lament relocations (buildings were knocked down to earn the site Unesco World Heritage status); high ticket prices (100 yuan, or £10, in a very poor province); and general commercialisation.

    Chinese media have dubbed Shi "the country's most controversial monk" and "the abbot with the MBA". Certainly, his business acumen extends far beyond the monastery giftshop, with its wushu shoes and tasteful ceramic incense holders.

    He has backed the Chinese TV show Kung Fu Star, a sort of Pop Idol for the martial arts world. Shaolin has "franchised" four temples in Kunming, taking over their management at their request, and opened 40 branches overseas. It is a measure of the temple's money-minded reputation – fast rivalling its kung fu fame – that rumours recently spread it was planning to float on the stock exchange. The more prosaic truth, it says, is that it is supporting a new state-backed tourism firm.

    Thanks to the headlines such ventures attract, walking through Shaolin with the abbot – a portly figure swathed in saffron robes – is a bit like escorting Donald Trump through Times Square in New York. There are audible gasps from tourists, who rush over with their cameras and phones. One man tries to lean in for a shot alongside Shi, only to be bundled aside by a uniformed guard.

    But for every fan there is a detractor, critical not just of the monastery's approach but Shi's own lifestyle. Complaints include his acceptance of a luxury car for services to local tourism and an elaborate embroidered robe from a brocade firm, the gold thread alone costing a reported £5,000.

    Shortly after we visit, the state news agency Xinhua announces that the monastery has asked police to investigate who might be spreading libellous internet rumours that Shi was caught with prostitutes. "The people who made this rumour up will be punished either by law or by karma. It's just a question of time," says Wang, who blames cynics wanting to mock religion and attack famous figures.

    Shi says he welcomes scrutiny and acknowledges that the temple's development has been "a really hot topic", but sees commerce and spirituality as complementary. "Through the tourists we solve the problem of making a living and passing on our culture and traditions," he says, while the overseas performances are "a contribution to humans around the world".

    But he grows increasingly animated as he discusses rival "Shaolin" tours and others who seek to associate themselves with the monastery.

    The temple takes its brand so seriously that it fought a six-year battle with the Chinese trademark office for refusing to register "Shaolin medicine" for use on products including coffee, takeaway foods and instant noodles. Shi says it wants to stop others from issuing substandard products that could damage people's health and the monastery's good name.

    "It is quite bitter for us, spending money and time fighting for trademarks and Shaolin's reputation . . . [They] use it to make money; we are fighting to protect our belief and faith. It's a totally different issue," he says.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    continued from previous

    The monastery insists that kung fu, however lucrative, is secondary to religion for its members. "First they are monks," says Wang. "It doesn't matter if they are warrior monks; they must still meditate and study the scriptures."

    But most of the fighting monks are recruited from the students at Dengfeng's 50-plus martial arts schools, where kung fu is not only a way of life but a way of making a living. Henan is one of China's poorest provinces and martial arts offer many kids their best opportunity of building a career; a shot at becoming a bodyguard, soldier or performer rather than an unskilled labourer.

    Grandmaster Liang Yiqun, the 82-year-old founder of the Shaolin Epo Wushu college, draws on six generations of kung fu expertise to give his charges an all-round education.

    "If a martial artist lacks culture, he is a savage. A scholar without any martial arts skills will find it hard to survive," he declares. They are the words of his grandfather, an imperial bodyguard.

    The next are his own: "Speaking honestly, a lot of the students we get are really naughty kids that are not accepted by so-called normal schools," he adds prosaically.

    Others come because their parents are migrant workers and they need a boarding school; or so they can fight their way into a sporting university, giving them a chance of higher education. And an increasing number of girls are enjoying the chance to challenge preconceptions.

    "People in my home town all think girls should be gentle and soft, while practising martial arts is tough and exhausting. They don't think girls are up to it," says Liang's 18-year-old student Zhang Hongxi, grinning mischievously. "Every time I leave the contest stage, my first thought is whether I have won face for my parents. The second is that it's good to prove that girls can also practise martial arts and be much tougher than guys." Like most of the pupils here, she combines steely will and a practical streak with starry-eyed idealism about her vocation, lauding the dignity and virtue of its champions.

    There is only a "really tiny chance" of even the best students becoming kung fu stars, her classmate Chang Xiufeng says pragmatically. But there's a faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the discipline and sheer physical grace that inspires them to train for day after day, night after night.

    "When Jackie Chan leaps," the teenager says, "it feels like he's flying . . ."

    Additional research by Han Cheng

    • Kung Fu Panda II opens on June 10.
    It's all about KFP2 right now, isn't it?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    Negative coverage on Thailand's The Nation

    Thailand should talk. I've been to Wat Po in Bangkok. It's beautiful, but very touristy.
    Of monks and money
    Phoowadon Duangmee
    The Nation
    Henan, China February 20, 2013 1:00 am

    Zen has evolved into sheer commercialism at Henan's Shaolin Temple. DVD anyone?

    Anyone who's seen such Shaolin Kung Fu classics as "The Shaolin Temple", "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" and even "Shaolin Soccer" but never visited the Buddhist monastery in question will probably be disappointed to find that there aren't Kung Fu monks on every corner. Nor is there a bald and bare-chested Jet Li in a grey robe, bouncing off the cobblestone floor before flying 50 feet up into the air to best a crooked warlord.

    Shaolin Monastery, nestled on the barren slopes of Song Mountain in central China's Henan province, might well have been the centre of wushu. In the Tang Dynasty, the monastery even saved the Imperial Throne as, according to history at least, 13 Shaolin monks helped Emperor Li Shimin in defeating the contender.

    But time flies and people die. Imperialism has surrendered to communism. Shaolin monks no longer fight for an emperor nor for justice. They only fight for the tourists (at Bt600 a pop and from 8am to 6.30pm) and all thanks to the film-makers, who introduced them to popular culture and commercialism.

    In short, if you want to see communism walking hand in hand commercialism, Shaolin Monastery is the place to go.

    We arrive at the monastery around 7am, as our Chinese guide - Noi Naa- drags us from our hotel beds in Luoyang at 5am. She wants to ensure we're ahead of the crowds and in time for the first show of the day.

    The legendary monastery greets visitors with a huge statue of the fighting monk.

    "Hello tourist, welcome to Shaolin Temple," gestures the statue, pressing fist against palm.

    Passing through the main entrance, we approach groups of "small soldiers" running and singing like privates in a military boot camp. Noi Naa tells us they are Kung Fu students. I look around for panda, tiger, snake, dragon and other characters in the animation hit "Kung Fu Panda", but apparently it's too early for a combat call. Thousands of the students, clad in gym outfits, busy themselves jumping, rolling, punching and kicking. Everyone shares the same dream of becoming the new Jet Li.

    Then, the tourist buggies arrive. We jump in and a few minutes are dropped off the Kung Fu performance.

    The real wushu story actually began around 1,500 years ago in 477 AD, when the Chinese emperor ordered the construction of Shaolin Monastery for Indian monk, Batuo, who came to teach Chan or Zen Buddhism. By the 13th century, it was home to around 2,000 monks, famed for their virtue and skill in martial arts. The monastery then fell on hard times. It was burned down three times, most recently in 1928 during a struggle between rival warlords. The temple was also vandalised and ransacked by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

    Apparently, it was the film director Hsin-yan Chang who invented Shaolin's new chapter through his 1982 hit - "Shaolin Temple". Led by Jet Li, then a kung fu champion, the film follows the formula of revenge and mayhem that has been a staple of the Hong Kong film industry and was shot on location. Ever since Shaolin Monastery has been kicking ass, spinning-off from Buddhism to the new "religion" - commercialism.

    Shaolin's renaissance is much less than a Zen Buddhist Temple.

    Every day busloads of tourists arrive at the temple, which is largely covered by kiosks, vendors and a multitude of hawkers. Unlike the Christian church and its charitable shops or Japanese monasteries and Zen beads, Shaolin's business extends far beyond the monastery gift shop.

    The monks, in competition with the hawkers, disperse to sell incense holders and wushu shoes before beginning their 30-minute Kung Fu performances. In the middle of the wushu show, just as the young monk is pressing his neck against the spear, the hawkers, their hands full of DVD sets, jump in from the darkest corners. Commercial time! Oh and did I mention that the show is often interrupted by tourists who enter in the middle of the performance?

    After the wushu show, visitors are herded through an elevated "mountain gate", reached by a flight of 16 broad stone stairs. Under the curved tile roof hangs an elegant gold leaf inscription with the three Chinese characters for Shaolin Temple, written in the 18th century by the Qing Dynasty's Kangxi emperor.

    "The temple was burned down for 40 days in 1928," says our guide. "Some buildings such as Heavenly King Hall and a library of Buddhist scriptures were razed to ashes."

    The last row of buildings inside the monastery survived but has since been besieged by marauding tour groups.

    Martial arts enthusiasts may be thrilled by the Pilu Pavilion. It contains the famous depressions in the decor, the result of generations of monks practising their stance work, and huge colour frescos. Nearby, a rack of weapons displays a vicious-looking collection of spears, halberds and tridents.

    Like the Great Wall, Forbidden City and other China's tourist attractions, Shaolin is a victim of tourism industry. It's the place you want to visit. But, once you've been there, you tell your friends back home not to go. If they insist on going, tell them to get there ahead of the crowds.

    If you go

    AirAsia flies daily flight from Bangkok to Xian, the gateway to Luoyang. China's two former capitals are bridged by high-speed train. Shaolin Monastery is about an hour's drive from Luoyang.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    a short disaparging article

    China

    The dark side of China's Kung Fu schools

    Kung Fu, or Wu Shu, as it is properly called in Chinese, is one of the most popular sports in China. And yet the golden era of martial arts and the Shaolin is long gone.

    Ten years ago, there were some 100 schools with an enrollment of nearly 100,000 students. Today, that number has shrunk by half.

    In the old days, it was mostly the poor who sent their children to the schools in the hope of a better life, today it is different.

    "Today, people have more opportunities," says Gua Jun, a Kung Fu master, who once trained at the Shaolin monastery. "Kung Fu used to be a way to change your life, but not anymore, which is why the schools have lost their attraction," he says.


    A young Chinese monk from the shaolin monastery Shongsan in the Chinese province of Henan Shaolin monks are masters of the martial art of wushu

    Fleeting dream of fame

    The daily routine in the schools is extremely difficult. Training begins at 5 in the morning. Up to 12 children share a room and discipline is a must. But all the pupils have big dreams.

    "I want to be an actress, but you have to do a lot for that, says 13-year-old Lui Yenfei, who trains in the Yong Tai monastery, a Kung Fu school just for girls. "I've always liked Kung Fu, especially the movies of Jackie Chan."

    Actors, like Jackie Chan, are the ultimate role models for all of them, but the reality is different. Only a few will ever be rich and famous; instead, most of them work as security personnel, body guards, or if they're lucky, as physical education teachers.

    Abuse has undermined prestige


    A young Shaolin monk is lifted by another monk EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++ Shaolin demonstrate their martial arts prowess

    And there is another - dark - side of the Kung Fu schools, which few people are willing to talk about: the abuse Kung Fu pupils often suffer at the hands of their instructors.

    Martial arts schools have lost a lot of their luster because of Internet videos showing teachers beating pupils in front of the other students.

    The schools have defended themselves against the accusations, arguing that there are always instructors who may be bad apples and who have been improperly trained. But, they say, this happens less and less, and besides absolute discipline is a must for Kung Fu students.

    Discipline is a key part of the philosophy, the martial arts schools point out. Many parents would agree with that, but nowadays, for their only child, more and more of them are looking at other alternatives.
    I was hoping for a little more, given the title. For the record, it was more than a decade ago when the big drop in the number of schools happened. That was during the forced relocation, soon after the Abbot took charge, which profoundly affected the numbers, more so than reports of abuse.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #51
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    OT - Zen Shaolin related

    I thought there was a separate thread devoted to the Zen Shaolin show, but this was all I could find on a cursory search.

    Malaysia Airline Tragedy Puts Zhang Yimou Project on Back Burner
    By EDWARD WONG DECEMBER 17, 2014 6:35 AM December 17, 2014 6:35 am Comment


    Performers in "Impression Lijiang," one of nine "Impression" shows at popular Chinese tourist sites. “Impression Melaka” in Malaysia was expected to debut in October. Credit European Pressphoto Agency

    After Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished in March, many ordinary Chinese and officials became incensed at Malaysia’s handling of the disaster and vowed never to travel to the country. Most of the 227 passengers on board had been Chinese flying to Beijing from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

    Now it turns out that one of the casualties of the fallout from the missing flight is an outdoor theatrical spectacle that was to have been co-directed by China’s most famous filmmaker and set in the former Portuguese colonial town of Melaka, on the Straits of Malacca along Malaysia’s west coast.

    The show, “Impression Melaka,” was expected to debut in October in Melaka, commonly known in English as Malacca, but has now been postponed. It would have been the first of the “Impression” series, co-directed by Zhang Yimou, the prominent filmmaker, to take place outside China. Since 2003, Mr. Zhang and two other directors have staged “Impression” shows as nightly events during peak season at nine well-known Chinese tourist sites, including the karst landscape around Guilin, the rebuilt ancient town of Lijiang and West Lake in the city of Hangzhou.


    Melaka is a tourist draw in Malaysia because of its preserved shophouses and colonial buildings. It is also well known among Chinese as a base that the Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He used on his voyages to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.


    The filmmaker Zhang Yimou is a co-director on the "Impression" series. Local governments, companies and individuals invest huge sums of money to stage the shows. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

    A Malaysian company, PTS Properties, had been working on “Impression Melaka” with the Chinese company founded by Mr. Zhang and his two co-directors, Wang Chaoge and Fan Yue. The three of them created the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

    “One of the reasons we postponed the Impression launch date is due to the commercial decision after the MAS airline event,” Pang Bak Chua, a senior project manager at PTS Properties, said in an email, referring to Malaysia Airlines by its industry code. He declined to discuss the matter in more detail.

    Local Chinese governments, companies and individuals have invested huge sums of money to stage the “Impression” shows, which involve acrobats, hundreds of dancers and other performers, and percussive music. Investors put $15 million, for example, into a show that opened in Henan Province in 2007, “Zen Shaolin.” It is not clear whether the sites have made back the money they invested, and some Chinese officials and art critics have criticized the “Impression” series as wasteful.

    In 2010, Jiang Zongfu, vice mayor of Linxiang in Hunan Province, said in an online post that he had researched the investments made by tourist sites and concluded that the “Impression” series was a losing business venture. “Under peer pressure, tourism sites all want to have an entry of the Impression series episode, without thinking about whether it’s really worth it,” wrote Mr. Jiang, who was in charge of tourism in Linxiang.

    The “Impression” creators and their representatives declined to respond to Mr. Jiang when his post first appeared.

    This week, no one has answered the phone at the Beijing offices of China Impression Wonders Art Development, the company founded by Mr. Zhang and his associates that puts on the “Impression” shows.

    The website of PTS Properties says 150 cities around the world were in “stiff competition” to have the first “Impression” show outside China. The directors chose Melaka after visiting it in 2012. The show would be the “first world-class international mega performance out of China, in Southeast Asia,” the site says, and it would “integrate Melaka’s glorious history and modern day culture with characteristic music, presenting a feast of light, shadows, dance, fine arts and melody with strong visual and acoustic impact.”

    The description says the show would be performed on an “iconic theater built with a 360-revolving seat area for over 2,000 people. The only one in the region, the 70-minute show is expected to include a cast of 500 employees, inclusive of 200 performers, and is expected to attract 1.2 million new tourists.”

    The man who lobbied hardest to bring “Impression” to Melaka was Boo Kuang Loon, the founder of PTS Properties. In a 2013 interview with StarBizWeek, a Malaysian magazine, Mr. Boo said that he had wanted to set up a musical fountain by the water in Melaka to increase tourism but that his consultants told him that would be difficult.

    “My architect reminded me about ‘Impression,’ and I thought that Malaysia was ready for this,” he said. “I’ve watched a couple of the ‘Impression’ shows in China before, but I didn’t think I could be able to bring such a big-scale attraction to Malaysia then.”

    Mr. Boo met with the directors in July 2012, and the plans subsequently unfolded. He said that perhaps the directors were attracted to Melaka because of its historical ties with Zheng He, the mariner, and with dynastic China. The stage would be in the shape of a junk from Zheng He’s fleet, and there would be “Islamic elements as part of the backdrop, depicting Zheng He’s voyages and the Malacca sultanate,” Mr. Boo said.

    The total investment in the production would be 250 million to 300 million Malaysian ringgit, or $75 million to $86 million, and it might take five to six years for the show to break even, Mr. Boo said.

    Another Malaysian newspaper, The Sun, said in 2013 that the “Impression” show “is set to become one of the iconic tourist attractions for Visit Malaysia 2014.”

    Mia Li and Bree Feng contributed research.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #52
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    tourism

    This author is a little late to the boat as Henan has clearly already attracted tourism. Nevertheless, it's a nice little overview he has put together on the topic.

    Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | December 17, 2014
    Can Henan Attract Tourists with Kung Fu?


    PHOTO: Kung Fu practice at the Shaolin Temple is bringing special interest travelers to Henan. (Courtesy of Henan Tourism)

    Kung Fu, which did so much to expose Asia in American pop culture, may be the key to lifting the martial art’s home province out of the shadows. Since the 1930s, China has been urging the Olympic Committee to add Kung Fu as an official Olympic sport, but with little luck. Kung Fu is just a branch of the broader field of Chinese martial arts known as Wushu. Kung Fu originated in Henan Province at Shaolin Temple. Henan’s capital city, Zhengzhou, is trying to leverage its recent economic success in order to lift its cultural and touristic profile internationally.

    The economic ascent of Zhengzhou has created yet another power nexus that is not located on China’s more traditionally powerful corridor on the East Coast. Chengdu (Sichuan Province) and Zhengzhou are mounting a challenge to Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Wealth in the once backwater province has risen with the electronics manufacturing.

    The city’s economic prowess has brought in a strong transit infrastructure and now the hotel inventory is also coming on, but what will bring the tourists in? Perhaps Kung Fu.

    High speed rail, roads and aviation now connect the rest of China to Zhengzhou. According to the CAPA - Centre for Aviation and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) through August, Zhengzhou ranked as the eighth largest cargo airport in China and 17th largest for passenger traffic. Right now, Zhengzhou's passenger capacity is larger than such airports as Auckland, Cairo, Helsinki and Manchester. Even so, cargo dominates in Zhengzhou.

    Zhengzhou officials had a great learning opportunity come to them this past Nov. 15-17 when the International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism was held in the city. The forum addressed three primary topics: tourism development, tourism industry interconnectivity, and tourism promotion. In Henan they’re taking their promotion to great lengths, as far in fact, as Los Angeles International Airport, where a recently concluded long-term agreement will allow Henan Tourism to run promotional videos in the newly renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal at boarding gates.

    Zhengzhou was a capital in China’s ancient Shang Dynasty, one of the original Chinese dynasties, existing between 1600 and 1050 BCE. In Zhengzhou, tourists can visit one of the oldest Confucius Temples in China. The Shaolin Temple, the home of Kung Fu, is among the oldest of China’s Buddhist temples. It’s also become a beach head for tourism to Henan. Many devotees of Kung Fu, a martial art made popular internationally by Kung Fu films, come to the temple’s home on Shaoshi Mountain just outside of Luoyang to watch Kung Fu shows and take lessons.

    It’s possible to stay overnight in the temple. Though the accommodations are spartan, they give guests the chance to watch sunrise practices involving hundreds of students. The China Guide can arrange the overnight.?? The Zen International Hotel Henan sits about 700 yards from the temple and clearly exists to serve as the temple’s commercial bedroom.

    The temple is comprised of Changzhu Yard, where monks practice their Kung Fu exercises. The grounds contain many antiques and historic sites, including: the Progenitor Hut, the Forest of Steles, Daxiong Hall, the Hall of One Thousand Buddhas, the Pagoda Forest, Yugong pagoda and Dharma Cave.

    The temple was built during the 5th century to help monks overcome the weariness of spending hours upon hours in the sitting meditation poses of Zen. Thus Kung Fu began as a kind of calisthenics for monks. The Shaolin Temple Wushu Training Center offers a program for students worldwide to study and immerse themselves in the martial arts culture.

    Every October the temple hosts the Wushu Festival, which attracts more than 100 teams from dozens of countries for the Wushu (martial arts) festival. This past October, the Wushu Festival attracted more than 1,800 Kung Fu practitioners for the three-day festival.

    Zhengzhou itself is also beginning to build the hotels it will need. Earlier this year, Hilton Worldwide opened the 448-room Hilton Zhengzhou in the city center and the 300-room Radisson Blu Zhengzhou Huiji is scheduled to open any day. In June the Innside by Meliá will open to be followed by the Meliá Zhengzhou opening in January 2016. Other hotels are also on the way including a Grand Hyatt that’s also under development.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    Slightly OT

    This reminds me of old Shaolin village, when there was a roller coaster simulator and Mao's private plane as tourist traps. Those were the days...

    Aerodium opens indoor skydiving center near Shaolin in China
    BC, Riga, 31.05.2016.

    Latvian vertical wind tunnel operator Aerodium in cooperation with Chinese investors has opened an indoor skydiving center, Flying Dream, in Dengfeng, China, near the famous Shaolin Monastery, the company announced LETA.



    It is the first indoor skydiving center in the world that has been built in the form of an amphitheater. The facility will offer visitors not only indoor skydiving experience but also shows featuring kung-fu and skydiving demonstrations.

    "As this vertical wind tunnel is situated not far from the Shaolin Monasery where monks had been studying levitation for centuries, the show is about progress of flying from the early days of Zen Buddhism to modern times,” said Liga Gablika, a representative of Aerodium, adding that over 200 kung-fu experts, singers, dancers and skydiving acrobats participated in the show.

    Aerodium vertical wind tunnels had been installed in 37 world countries, including the United States, Argentina, Canada, Thailand, Finland, South Korea, Indonesia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia etc. Since 2015 the company has been focusing on building a franchise network. First Aerodium franchises were opened last year in Slovenia and Bahrain. Franchises in China and Egypt will be opened this year, and the company continues working on projects in other countries. Flying Dream in Dengfeng also is one of Aerodium's franchises.

    Aerodium vertical wind tunnel operator closed 2015 with a profit of EUR 280,000 on a turnover of EUR 778,000, up 4% from 2014. Aerodium Technologies, the company producing vertical wind tunnels, posted a profit of EUR 237,600 on a turnover of EUR 4.881 million for 2015.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #54
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    Shaolin tourism in three photos

    Well, two photos. The third is standard. Actually, this could be a parking lot anywhere. Looks like someone brought their drone to Shaolin.

    Throngs of vehicles in Shaolin Temple look like circuit board
    Source:China News Serv Published: 2016/10/5 15:57:15



    Throngs of vehicles park at the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, as thousands of tourists visit the cradle of Chinese Kungfu, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo/China News Service)



    Throngs of vehicles park at the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, as thousands of tourists visit the cradle of Chinese Kungfu, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo/China News Service)



    Thousands of tourists visit the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo/China News Service)
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #55
    there is two things to consider here, the tourist and the students. the tourist are annoy as all hell but the Shaolin students are good people training hard and living simple. my teacher's school is about 10 minutes from the entrance to the Shaolin Temple by car. in the mountains of Songshan. I only go inside the Temple area when I have some reason otherwise I am happy living amongst the locals[sometimes fighting them, but hey **** happens] and not having to see the tourist. But people don't blame the full time students training 6 days a week 6 hours a day for all the tourist and tourist business surrounding Shaolin.
    Last edited by wiz cool c; 10-05-2016 at 11:18 PM.

  11. #56
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    That's a really old argument, wiz cool c

    Shaolin has been criticized for pandering to tourists for centuries already. CENTURIES. I don't worry about that anymore. It's a nooB thing.

    Worthy of note (for those that might have missed it) the photos above were taken over the National Day holiday, so tourism was up.

    National Day holiday spending hits 68-bln-USD in six days
    2016-10-06 20:39:51 CRIENGLISH.com Web Editor: Zhang Xu


    Tourists visit Shaolin Temple at the foot of the Songshan Mountain in Dengfeng City, central China's Henan Province, on Oct. 4, 2016, during the National Day holiday. [Photo: Chinanews.com]

    Domestic Chinese tourists have spent 454 billion yuan (68 billion US dollars) in the first six days of the week long National Day holiday, according to China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

    The CNTA said on Thursday that 560 million tourists traveled in China between October 1-6 and spent around 454 billion yuan.

    China braced for the returning tourists to peak on Thursday, the second last day of National Day holiday. Traffic authorities estimate that about 1.16 million train trips would be made on Thursday.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #57
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    ttt 4 2017

    Commercializing Religion in China
    Communist Party policies encourage the development of temples, monasteries into profitable tourist attractions
    By Annie Wu, Epoch Times
    December 12, 2017 4:39 pm Last Updated: December 12, 2017 4:39 pm


    Chinese monks attend a ceremony at a Shaolin Temple to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, on January 28, 2017. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

    The kung-fu-fighting monks of Shaolin Temple are world-famous ascetics, depicted in countless movies and television shows.

    But under the Chinese Communist Party’s rule, the historic temple has become a shell of its former self. It is no longer a place for spiritual meditation but a business empire, with multiple companies established: a film and television company, painting academy, publishing house, and performing troupe among them.

    Shaolin rents out its grounds as a venue for holding events, including a “bikini fashion” beauty pageant in the summer of 2009. That year, the temple also attempted to get listed on the stock exchange. If there was ever something to epitomize the idea of “selling out,” this would be it.

    This blatant commercialization of religion has been endorsed by the Chinese regime for decades. In the era of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong denounced “old ideas, culture, customs, and habits,” commanding the destruction of countless historic sites, temples, monasteries, and places of cultural significance across the country. But with the opening up of the Chinese economy, local authorities have cashed in on the lucrative potential of people’s growing interest in Buddhist temples and Daoist monasteries. To boost local economies, destroyed structures were reconstructed and developed into tourist sites.

    But they’re no longer places of worship. Like with many phenomena in an increasingly materialistic Chinese society, the sole motivation has become making money, from building scenic parks to attract tourists, to selling god statues for people seeking to secure blessings.

    Recently, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has even recognized this flagrant commercialization is bad optics, and have called on religious organizations to tamp it down. On Nov. 23, 12 departments within the Party’s central authorities—including the Propaganda Department, United Front, Cyberspace Administration, and National Tourism Administration—published rules forbidding Buddhist and Daoist organizations to be operated as corporations. It prohibited business capital, personal investments, or contracts, as well as the sale of expensive tickets for admission into temple grounds, or services such as selling the first stick of incense to be placed in the censer, believed to bring good luck.

    Monks Colluding with the Party

    Decades of the warping of religion has already left its mark. The Party allowed the existence of Buddhist and Daoist organizations in order to keep up the facade of religious freedom, when in reality, it has appointed abbots as puppets of the Party.

    Shi Yongxin, abbot of Shaolin Temple, is the most well-known example. He held several administrative posts, including deputy president of the Buddhist Association of China, the CCP-led body that supervises Buddhism activities, and president of the Henan Province division of the association. Shaolin is located in Dengfeng County, Henan Province. Former CCP leader Jiang Zemin also appointed him as a representative to the Party’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress.


    Shi Yongxin (center) attends the Chinese Kungfu Star TV Contest held at Shaolin Temple on September 9, 2006. (China Photos/Getty Images)

    According to an expose published in the Chinese business publication Caixin in August 2015, Shi had a close relationship with Jiang, the Henan party boss Li Changchun, and the Buddhist Association president Zhao Puchu. It was under Zhao’s instructions that Shi turned Shaolin Temple into a business empire, the report said.

    Since the CCP took over Tibet, the Tibetan Buddhist lamas all need to be recognized and approved by the central authorities. To get approval, some Tibetan monasteries have resorted to bribing and currying favor with CCP officials. Chief among them is Zhu Weiqun, who was the deputy head of the United Front Work Department and tasked with handling Tibet affairs.

    Tourism Above All

    Meanwhile, notable temples have been forcibly seized by local officials to be aggressively developed and promoted as sightseeing destinations. The four sacred mountains of Buddhism, Mt. Wutai, Emei, Jiuhua, and Putuo, have all been developed into tourist-friendly attractions by local authorities or state-owned firms.

    Xingjiao Temple in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province is known for housing the remains of the Tang Dynasty monk Xuanzang, whose journey to India to seek Buddhist scriptures inspired the famous novel “Journey to the West.” When local authorities sought for the temple to be recognized as a UNESCO heritage site, they proposed for large parts of the complex to be demolished and replaced with a newer building, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.


    An aerial view of the Xingjiao Temple in Shaanxi Province on April 13, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

    In some instances, tourism plans have backfired. At the 1,700-year-old Famen Temple, also in Shaanxi, local authorities built a scenic park nearby. However, the huge debt they incurred forced them to hire fake monks to roam the grounds and collect donations from visitors.

    At the Panlong Temple in Yunnan, monks were so fed up with the flocks of tourists that they shut the doors, posting this message for visitors: “Due to the fact that the Jinning County and Jincheng Township governments wish to commercialize and corporatize the Panlong Temple, disrupting the temple’s order, the temple has decided today to temporarily shut the gates for a quiet meditation environment.”

    Some temples have become completely occupied by local authorities, from the Administration of Cultural Heritage seizing precious artifacts, to the forestry and tourism department taking charge of the surrounding lands.

    Current affairs commentator Li Linyi noted that many local officials are motivated by wanting to score political points and gain promotions by contributing to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) target. Tourism is an easy way for them to do so.

    Prayers for Blessings

    Why have places of worship become so popular? Li noted that many Chinese have turned to a higher being in hopes of gaining fortune and blessings. At the Nainai Temple in Hebei Province, patrons can sign contracts with the temple to construct a statue and altar depicting whatever god they’d like, whether it’s a “car god,” “study god,” or “government official god.”

    Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily noted in a Nov. 24 article that former CCP leader Jiang Zemin and his underlings often visited Mt. Jiuhua and Shaolin Temple to alleviate their guilt about their corruption.

    Zhang Ting, Xue Fei, and Luo Ya contributed to this report.
    Before anyone gets too worked up on this Shaolin commercialism post, keep in mind that the source is Epoch Times.

    I'm also copying this to the Monkey King thread for the Xingjiao Temple reference.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,033

    Ugly tourists

    Trending in China
    China embarrassed by badly behaving tourists at Xian and Buddhist Shaolin Temple during May Day holiday period

    Tourists engage in embarrassing behaviour including damaging ancient walls and writing graffiti on historic steles
    In some instances parents were seen encouraging children to damage ancient and sacred sites

    Mandy Zuo in Shanghai
    Published: 10:10pm, 6 May, 2021


    Tourists climbing on bamboo at the sacred Shaolin Temple site in Henan, central China. Photo: Handout
    China’s tourism industry may have returned to pre-pandemic levels during the May Day holiday, but tourists have once again been called out for bad behaviour.
    Tourist attractions across mainland China saw various boorish behaviours including climbing up ancient walls and drawing on centuries-old steles as the government recorded 230 million trips during the 5-day public holiday, which was up 103 per cent from the same period in 2019.
    In Xian, the ancient Chinese capital famous for the Terracotta Army, some tourists were caught on video climbing up the ancient city walls, another major attraction of the city built over 600 years ago, causing bricks to fall, according to China Youth Daily.

    Tourists climbing and damaging the ancient city walls at Xian, centra China, despite requests they refrain from doing so. Photo: Handout
    In a video published this week some adults were seen scrambling up Xian’s ancient exterior wall in order to take photos, while others were seen pushing their children up so they could play on the ruins.
    This has become so common that the attraction’s service centre has to repair the ancient structure after each tourism peak, said a worker.
    The wall, which was built in the early days of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) on top of ruins from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), is 13.7km long in total and “it’s impossible for us to arrange a staff worker to stand at one point all the time”, the worker said.
    In Henan province’s Shaolin Temple, a Zen Buddhist monastery that’s also a popular tourist destination, a teenage boy was seen drawing on an ancient inscribed stele on Monday, according to Feidian Video, a video news outlet.
    According to the signature of the inscription, the stele is more than 500 years old.
    Graffiti was also left on bamboo plants near the temple.

    Graffiti is left on an ancient monument in central China. Photo: Handout
    Words reading “*** was here”, and “*** and *** 1314”, meaning the two will spend the rest of their life together, were also engraved onto bamboo plants.
    A group of adults were filmed climbing up the bamboo and encouraging their children to do so, causing damage as a result.
    When asked why he climbed up the plant, one adult said, “to exercise.”
    Managers of visitor attractions have intensified their efforts to deal with “uncivilised” tourists.

    Tourists carved their names onto the branches of ancient bamboo groves. Photo: Handout
    The Huangzangyu National Forest Park in Anhui province had to expel two visitors on Monday after the pair climbed up the safety fence of a glass trestle in order to impress others and take photos, local media reported. The bridge was about 200 metres above ground and the men put on their “Spiderman” show despite shouts of warning from other visitors.
    The Xian ancient city wall managers are more creative in terms of stopping dangerous behaviour.

    A man climbs cables on a bridge at a tourist site in a bid to impress. Photo: Weibo
    A group of large men dressed up as warriors from the Tang Dynasty were dispatched to warn such tourists politely against damaging the site.
    “When seeing such tourists our warriors would approach them and ask them to stop doing it, in a manner commonly used in the Tang Dynasty,” Guo Hui, the centre’s spokeswoman, told Sohu News.
    Seems like the monks might open a can of whoopass on these desecrators.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •