After the article about the Shaolin Temple planning to build a branch in Hong Kong was published on February 23, it drew attention from readers nationwide. Over 50 websites in China quoted the full text.

How do netizens feel about Songshan Shaolin Temple’s plan to build another Shaolin Temple in Hong Kong? To understand their opinions, Sohu.com launched a large-scale opinion poll on its website, entitled ‘Do you support the Shaolin Temple building a branch in Hong Kong costing 420 million HKD?’

The supporting side argues to ‘support the construction of the Hong Kong Shaolin Temple’ in order to better promote Shaolin culture among the people of Hong Kong, and so they can learn the secrets of Shaolin kung fu right on their doorstep. At the same time, it will become a new scenic spot to attract tourists and garner economic benefits. One netizen in Shanghai said, ‘Now that western culture is spreading everywhere, building a Shaolin Temple in Hong Kong means that Asian culture, represented by Shaolin, can fully rival Disneyland, which represents western culture.’

Those who ‘oppose the construction of the Hong Kong Shaolin Temple’ say forking out such a huge sum of money to build a branch temple is an expensive waste. The significance of the Shaolin Temple lies in Buddhist spirituality, not in martial arts tips and commercial expansion.

By 7:00 pm on February 23, a total of 7,703 people have participated in the opinion poll. According to the results, 6,679 people voted in favor of the Shaolin temple plan, while merely 1,024 people voted against it. The results showed a great disparity between the two opinions, which shocked even Abbot Shi Yongxin of the Shaolin Temple. ‘That is not easy! (Zhen bu rong yi!),’ Shi commented using four Chinese characters when he was informed of the results.

Considering the plan for the Shaolin Temple and opinions from netizens, Xia Wanqun, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Society, said, ‘After reform and opening-up, traditional Chinese culture has continuously been on the defense. The Shaolin Temple, however, has actively spread traditional Chinese culture to the world while revealing the value of traditional Chinese culture. Their efforts are worthy of praise.’ He added that Shaolin culture implies universal values, which are a part of traditional Chinese culture. The construction of a branch temple in Hong Kong is not only an opportunity for the Shaolin Temple to spread its culture to the whole world, but also a platform for it to spread the culture of China’s central plains. ‘I believe most netizens are aware of this point. That is why they support the Shaolin Temple’s plan to build a branch temple in Hong Kong.’

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