Chinese authorities are looking into allegations by a whistleblower that a Shaolin abbot had sexual relations with a number of women and fathered illegitimate children.
According to state media, the State Administration for Religious Affairs said it would order its bureau in Henan Province to look into rumours surrounding the abbot, known as Shi Yongxin.
Rumours about the double life of Shi Yongxin emerged after a whistleblower called Shi Zhengyi posted the allegations on various online forums. Shi Zhengyi is reported to be a former follower of the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province.
The whistleblower appeared to back up a number of his claims with documents and photographs, including papers dating back to the 1980s that purportedly showed the Shaolin temple’s decision to expel Shi Yongxin for “applying for reimbursement with fake receipts” and “having serious financial problems.”
The whistleblower also provided copies of documents showing the abbot’s two national identity numbers with different birth dates, and copies of the birth certificate of one of his illegitimate children.
It is not the first time the abbot has been embroiled in controversy. He has been dubbed the “CEO monk” for running the Shaolin temple like a business. Controversial business ventures have included plans to build a US$297 million 500-bed hotel complex in Australia, which would have included a temple, a live-in kung fu academy and a golf course.