Buddhist temples told to stop selling shares to investors

China Featured - October 26th, 2012
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Buddhist temples in China have been told by officials to stop profiteering as many across the country pursue stock market listing.

The government’s religious affairs office asked local authorities to ban financial activities related to religious activity, according to AP, and told them “not to allow religious venues to be run as business ventures or listed as corporate assets.”

Areas such as nature parks and temples are increasingly turning to commercial activities that go further than souvenir selling as support from the government is not forthcoming. Charitable giving is not as common in China as other countries, meaning that western-style ‘collection boxes’ have not been effective. Temples face heavy costs for the upkeep of their ancient grounds and buldings.

No one could have anticipated that the poor and egalitarian China of Mao Zedong’s time would become a “Wild West” of commercialism, Mary Bergstrom, founder of The Bergstrom Group, a marketing consultancy in Shanghai, told AP.