Letter from China: For Beijing, fear grows as spirituality blooms – Howard W. French

From the International Herald Tribune:

At Bei Shan Si, an ancient Taoist shrine that sits atop one of the peaks that ring this old Silk Road city, worshipers turn out in large numbers on a misty Sunday morning to climb the shrine’s many stairs, to burn incense in an appeal to the gods, or simply to kneel in silent prayer…

No one looking up from there could possibly miss the big, blocky characters looming above the magnificent 1,400-year-old shrine. There, the official exhortation reads: “Xining Eastern Development Zone.” Equally unmissable was the unwritten message, a slap by the country’s materialist state ideology against the country’s blossoming spirituality.


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