The time line on the Shaolin Temple share transaction suggests that there was a change of mind somewhere along the line.
First CTS (Dengfeng) Songshan Shaolin Culture Tourism was set up as a joint venture between the Dengfeng Songshan Shaolin Culture Tourism Group, which is owned by the Dengfeng city government in Henan, and the Hong Kong-based China Travel International Investment Hong Kong, a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corporation (HKCTS).
The Hong Kong company took a 51% stake and the Dengfeng company took 49% of the new joint venture, which has a registered capital of $14.7 million.
The original story was the government of Dengfeng, where the Shaolin Temple lies, was trying to have the religious place listed in the stock market.
This was sort of initially denied by Bo Baohua, board chairman of the new company, at an inauguration ceremony held in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan said, "In the next 10 years, we will greatly promote the tourism of the Songshan Mountain scenic spot, improve the infrastructure and upgrade the services. Meanwhile, we will greatly promote the Shaolin kungfu and culture."
Still the thought was that this was inappropriate behaviour and would hurt the feelings of Shaolin monks and religious people.
The Dengfeng government was quick to deny this, saying, "16 cultural relics of national and provincial levels, including the Shaolin Temple, in the area will not be managed by the new joint venture."
The Shaolin Temple, built 1,500 years ago during the Wei and Jin Dynasties, is famous for Buddhist teaching and Chinese martial arts, particularly Shaolin kungfu.
Shi Yongxin officially took over as abbot in 1999 and earned himself the nickname the "CEO monk." He is seen with his computer in our illustration on the right.
Shaolin, which has become a household name around the world, has developed business operations such as kungfu shows, film production and online sales under the leadership of Shi Yongxin.
China View reports he has submitted proposals several times to the national legislature, suggesting the exemption of entrance fees at religious tourist attractions to promote cultural protection.
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