Shaolin Temple not to go public: abbot

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The abbot of China's famed Shaolin Temple said here Thursday that the temple will not be listed in the stock market.

In addition, Shaolin Temple will not become a shareholder or join in the business operation of the newly established tourism company in Dengfeng City of Henan Province, where the temple lies, Shi Yongxin said at a press conference.

The legal rights and interests of Shaolin Temple had been well protected according to Chinese laws of religious affairs and will not be affected by the new firm, he said.

Shi made the remarks four days after a joint venture was established between the Dengfeng city government and the Hong Kong-based China Travel International Investment Hong Kong Limited, a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corporation (HKCTS).

The new company had come under spotlight as earlier reports said the government of Dengfeng was trying to have the religious place listed in the stock market.

The rumors had sparked criticism on the Dengfeng government, as critics say the agreement would hurt the feelings of Shaolin monks and religious people.

Both the Dengfeng government and a senior HKCTS official had denied the reports earlier this month, saying the Shaolin Temple will not be managed by the new joint venture.

Shi said at the press conference that he welcomed HKCTS to do business in Dengfeng, but reaffirmed that Shaolin Temple will never participate in commercial operation of the joint venture as its core functions are to organize religious activities to meet the demand of religious followers.

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