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'CEO monk' set to franchise shrine

Shi Yongxin, abbot of the 1,500-year-old temple known as "CEO monk" because of his business like management of the temple affairs, has announced that Shaolin will introduce a "trusteeship" system at four 2,000-year-old temples in Yunnan.

world Updated: Nov 25, 2008 16:02 IST

Pretty soon, it will not be necessary to go to the famed Shaolin temple in China's Henan province to learn Kung Fu martial art. You will be able to train at a franchised "offshoot" in Yunnan province.

Shi Yongxin, abbot of the 1,500-year-old temple known as "CEO monk" because of his business like management of the temple affairs, has announced that Shaolin will introduce a "trusteeship" system at four 2,000-year-old temples in Yunnan.

He will send monks to those temples, whose earnings and donations will go to the Shaolin temple.

Shi said that the trusteeship period will be about 20 years.

"Our management model centres on culture, martial arts, education, charity, and zen Buddhism. We hope these will help promote the popularity of the four temples," said Shi.

Under his management, Shaolin has gone into film production, e-commerce and Kung Fu shows.

The latest commercial move, not surprisingly, exposed Shaolin to a new round of harsh criticism, with reaction online overwhelmingly negative.

"The temple has been degraded to a company," an anonymous netizen from central Henan said.

Shi rejected the idea that the "chain store" temple model is just too commercial. "I did so at the invitation of officials in Yunan," he told Xinhua.

But Shi's supporters said it is a good way to develop Shaolin in such a brand-oriented society, because commercialized operation helps to protect and spread Chinese Kung Fu.