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Shaolin Temple monks not to attend Olympic kung fu competition
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Despite the announcement that Wushu, known in the West as kung fu, would be showcased alongside the Beijing Olympics, Shaolin Temple, China's most renowned home of martial arts, has said its monks will not be taking part.

Shaolin Temple itself would not send people to take part in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Wushu competition, Orient Today quoted Qian Daliang, general manager of the Henan Shaolin Temple Development Co. Ltd, as saying.

"Chinese wushu belong to competitive sports, whereas Shaolin wushu belongs to traditional martial arts. The two have different natures, standards and connotations," said Qian.

"Performance in Chinese martial arts can be quantified but Shaolin wushu can not be measured in that way as it contains Buddhist elements and showcases a harmonious combination of Buddhism and kung fu," Qian said.

"In ancient times, people practiced Shaolin wushu to resist outsiders, not for competitive purposes.

"Shaolin Wushu, as a cultural heritage, cannot be equal to competitive sports. They are two completely different concepts. They are all monks at Shaolin Temple, we cannot send them to take part in competitions."

Chinese Olympic Committee Vice-Chairman Zhang Faqiang confirmed earlier this week that wushu will be featured at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Zhang was quoted as saying that it will neither be a medal sport nor a mere demonstration.

Qian said the Shaolin Temple would support the event "in a cultural and spiritual way" and they would definitely send martial art monks to the opening ceremony of the Olympics if they receive an invitation.

The 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng City, in central China's Henan Province, is also China's most renowned home of Zen Buddhism.

(Xinhua News Agency October 7, 2007)

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