High-ranking Chinese monk accused of sexually harassing nuns
Beijing, Aug 2 : The chief monk of a prominent Beijing-based Buddhist temple allegedly sexually harassed several nuns and forced them into sexual relations, official media reported today.
Master Xuecheng, the abbot of Longquan Temple is a politically influential monk. He is a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and also the head of the Buddhist Association of China.
He sexually harassed several nuns, including sending illicit messages to them and forcing them to have sexual relations with him, Shi Xianjia and Shi Xianqi, the whistle-blowers said in a 95-page report to relevant governmental departments.
It alleged that Xuecheng used text messages to mind-control nuns to tempt them into having sex with him, claiming it was part of their study of Buddhist doctrines, state-run Global Times quoted the report as saying.
Shi Xianqi and Shi Xianjia started probing Xuecheng's message after a nun, who stayed in Beijing in December 2017, turned to them for help with lewd messages from Xuecheng, the report said.
They have consulted with experts from the Ministry of Public Security to make sure that the messages were indeed sent by Xuecheng, it said.
However, the temple in a statement said the two whistle-blowers have "forged materials, distorted facts and spread false information" that misled the public and asked the government to establish an investigation team.
Xuecheng was taken for questioning by relevant authorities days ago before being released, the report said.
The whistle blowers alleged that Xuecheng threatened at least six nuns to have sex with him, four of whom capitulated to his requests.
One of the nuns reported to a police station in Haidian district on June 29 that Xuecheng had sexually assaulted her, the report said.
"Longquan Temple is under his spell. Xuecheng manipulated disciples to serve his 'Buddhist Empire'… disciples under his control sacrificed their precious practices of Buddhist doctrines and violated these doctrines, even laws," the daily quoted the report as saying.
The #MeToo movement, which erupted in the US last year and led to dozens of high-profile figures being publicly shamed for sexual misconduct, has been slow to take off in China, BBC reported.
But the movement now appears to be moving forward, despite accusations the government has been censoring reports.
Abbot Xuecheng is the latest figure to be been accused of sexual misconduct, it said.
Earlier in January this year, China had one of its first #MeToo moments after an academic accused her professor of sexual harassment. He was later sacked.
Since then, a veteran journalist, the founder of a prominent charity and another academic have figured among the accused public figures.