China Makes Room for Religion

ZHENGDING, China -- In 1982, two men arrived in this dusty provincial town. One was Shi Youming, a Buddhist monk who was taking up a post in the ruins of one of Zhengding's legendary temples. The other was Xi Jinping, the 29-year-old son of a top Communist Party official putting in a mandatory stint in the provinces as a bureaucrat in the government he would eventually lead.The two forged an unusual alliance that resonates today. With Xi's backing, Youming, who like most Buddhist monks preferred to go by one name, rebuilt the city's Linji Temple, the birthplace of one of the best-known schools of Buddhism. Even after Xi was transferred, he regularly visited Youming in Zhengding and sent officials there to study the partnership between the party and religion.  Continue reading...

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