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Kung Fu Monks Ready for Taiwan Trip
2005-8-4 12:46:31     
Dozens of Shaolin monks are gearing up for another round of the kung fu hustle in Taiwan later this month.


Following several months of negotiation, the island's government has granted permission for the monks to visit and teach Shaolin kung fu in summer camps there.

Roughly 60 monks in two groups will leave Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan Province, later this month for Taiwan via Hong Kong.

The tour will last for about three weeks, but the exact departure date has not been decided, said Shi Yongxin, head abbot of the Shaolin Temple.

"We are quite happy to have the opportunity to teach martial arts to the general public in Taiwan," Shi told China Daily yesterday in a telephone interview.

"Shaolin kung fu is a national treasure and world heritage that should be shared by more people, including our Taiwanese compatriots," Shi said, adding that this visit will be the largest Shaolin monk trip to Taiwan.

Shaolin Temple, on Songshan Mountain in Henan, has achieved increasing fame in recent decades and is now well known as one of the birth places of Chinese kung fu.

The worldwide popularity of kung fu is continuing to grow each year, especially after such films as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "The Matrix" and "Kung Fu Hustle."

Taiwan also has plenty of kung fu disciples. Shaolin monks began irregular visits to the island in 1993.

However, this year's planned trip has had a few uncomfortable moments.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council rejected the Shaolin monks' tour last month, claiming the event did not meet cross-Straits "professional exchange" rules. The council also said the Shaolin monks should limit their "exchanges" to martial arts professionals, not to the general public, and should travel as one group.

Officials with Taiwan's Chinese Shaolin Association responded by complaining that the Taiwanese government was trying to restrict cross-Straits exchanges.

The association had arranged for the monks to offer kung fu lessons free of charge in separate groups at 23 locations on the island, including orphanages and aboriginal villages.

However, several Shaolin monks received permission and went to Taiwan in June. Mainland Affairs Council Vice-Chairman Johnnason Liu told local media that the visit was a separate occasion because they did not give lessons to the public.

During tough negotiations, organizers of the monks' tour shifted the schedule and reduced the number of places and the duration of their planned visit to Taiwan. They finally received permission to visit.

Source: Sohu


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