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April 20, 2013

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Temple complains about the menace of beggars

SHANGHAI Jade Buddha Temple took to Weibo yesterday seeking help from the law enforcement agencies to keep out beggars from the temple gates.

The temple said the beggars, some in wheelchairs and others pretending to be limp, stood in front of the Anyuan Road gate and targeted tourists and Buddhist followers for money.

There were also many so-called fortune tellers who harassed visitors to the temple, claiming they could read palms and predict their future.

"We've received many complaints from tourists and our Buddhist followers. Some beggars even clutch at the visitors' clothes or their bags if they refused to give money," said Master Huijue at the temple.

He insisted that the beggars didn't really need help. The temple was their "area of work where they made a living."

"We do not mind helping those who are in need or require real help. But these beggars only want to reap without sowing." Master Huijue said.

"Jade Buddha Temple is a famous scenic spot and attracts millions of visitors from home and abroad every year. If the beggars keep disturbing visitors, it will affect the temple's peace as well as the image of Shanghai," the master said, adding that the temple's security guards had tried to stop the beggars but it only led to more conflicts.

The temple has also sought the help of the urban management team, only to be told that they could only warn the beggars but could not forcibly take them away.

Master Huijue said the beggars "come to work" on time every day when the temple gates open.


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