China’s head Buddhist monk quits in sex probe

Beijing: The head of China’s government-run Buddhist association quit his post on Wednesday amid an investigation into allega­ti­ons that he coerced several nuns into having sex with him.

Xuecheng, a Communist Party member and abbot of the Beijing Longquan Monastery, is one of the most prominent figures to face accusations in China’s growing #MeToo movement.

In a 95-page report circulated online late last month, two monks accused Xuecheng of sending explicit text messages to at least six women, threatening or cajoling them to have sex with him. China’s top religious authority launched an investigation shortly after the allegations were made public.

Xuecheng stepped down at a meeting of the Buddhist Association of China on Wednesday. “The council accepted Xuecheng’s resignation as president of the Buddhist Association of China,” said a statement posted on the association’s website.

It was tucked into a long report detailing a council meeting which neither elaborated on the abbot’s reasons for quitting nor referred to the recent probe. The same statement was also posted by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the government body overseeing religious groups.

A prominent personality in Chinese Buddhist life with a social media following of millions, Xuecheng’s Twitter-like Weibo account has been silent since August 1, when he posted a statement rejecting allegations of sexual misconduct. In their report, the two monks, who are no longer members of the monastery, said four women gave in to Xuecheng’s demands.                —Agencies

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