The Chinese Government supports the development of Buddhist institutes as
they have contributed greatly to the building of a harmonious society as well as
to world peace, a top Chinese official said yesterday.
"It is an urgent, strategic task to foster more young Buddhist talents,
especially in areas of research, foreign language, management and social
service," Liu Yandong, vice-chairwoman of the National Committee of the Chinese
People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said at a function to mark
the 50th anniversary of the Buddhist Academy of China yesterday.
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the development of
religious institutions, colleges and universities, Liu said.
"Chinese Buddhist circles will be able to carry out more international
cultural exchanges as China further reforms, opens up and promotes its
international reputation," Liu said.
The country encourages the fostering of more Buddhist talents with good
patriotic backgrounds, and high accomplishments.
Buddhism has a 2,000-year-old history in China. The country is estimated to
have 100 million folloers.
The Chinese mainland has 20,000 Buddhist temples and over 200,000 Buddhist
monks and nuns. The Buddhist Association of China is a national religious
There are 34 Buddhist schools and colleges, with more than 4,000 Buddhist
students on campus and nearly 6,000 graduates.
The official called on Chinese Buddhist institutions to grow into foundations
to develop theory research and cultural exchanges.
Founded in 1956, the Buddhist Academy of China, the highest Buddhist
institution in the country, laid the foundation stone for its new campus at
Tanzhesi Temple in western Beijing yesterday.
Construction of the new campus will be completed before the 2008 Beijing
Addressing the ceremony, Venerable Master Yi Cheng, President of the Academy
and the Buddhist Association of China, said the academy will try to become one
of the best Buddhist institutions in the world, with the goal of building a
"strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and modern country."
Apart from Buddhism, China's main religions include Taoism, Islam,
Catholicism and Protestantism.
In China, citizens' right to the freedom of religious belief is protected by
(China Daily 12/22/2006 page2)