Mys­tery be­hind Mas­ter Wang

Sunday Tasmanian - - NEWS -

thanks to Pro­fes­sor Clive Hamil­ton for open­ing up dis­cus­sion on the Tas­ma­nian Chi­nese Bud­dhist Academy and its leader Xin De Wang, known more widely around town as Mas­ter Wang.

Many peo­ple around Ho­bart have watched Mas­ter Wang and his Chi­nese Bud­dhism school be­come part of the fab­ric of Ho­bart, pour­ing mil­lions of dol­lars gen­er­ously into or­gan­i­sa­tions (like Crime Stop­pers) and many well­known char­i­ties like the Heart Foun­da­tion, Can­cer Council, Olympics and Par­a­lympics fundrais­ing.

Mas­ter Wang, who is the leader of the very wealthy Tantrayana Bud­dhism school that made Ho­bart home back in the 1990s, has strongly de­nied Pro­fes­sor Hamil­ton’s claims his role as pres­i­dent of the Tas­ma­nian branch of the Aus­tralian Council for the Peace­ful Re­uni­fi­ca­tion of China or­gan­i­sa­tion has links to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.

Prof Hamil­ton, who spoke at the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia last week, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was a “united front or­gan­i­sa­tion” at the heart of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s in­flu­ence in Aus­tralia.

Not for Mas­ter Wang’s Chi­nese Bud­dhists fol­low­ers tak­ing the vows of poverty.

Ho­bart’s Chi­nese Bud­dhist or­gan­i­sa­tions, in var­i­ous forms, own one of Tas­ma­nia’s largest prop­erty port­fo­lios, es­ti­mated be­tween $40 to $60 mil­lion.

It stretches across Ho­bart and be­yond — in­clud­ing some land­mark city prop­er­ties, res­i­dences in the posher sub­urbs and the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar Tas­ma­nian Chi­nese Bud­dhist Tem­ple and Cul­tural Park be­ing built in Cam­pa­nia.

They turn up at ma­jor pub­lic events like the Christ­mas Pa­rade, join­ing in the fun and adding to the colour with the dragon pro­ces­sion.

Prof Hamil­ton, a pub­lic ethics ad­vo­cate who has writ­ten the book Silent In­va­sion: China’s In­flu­ence in Aus­tralia, says the CCP aims to sub­tly win over pol­i­tics, busi­ness and the broader Tas­ma­nian so­ci­ety.

He claimed “red Bud­dhism” was the CCP us­ing the ide­ol­ogy of Chi­nese Bud­dhism to push its in­flu­ence and it was hap­pen­ing in Tas­ma­nia.

Mas­ter Wang re­jected the claims as “base­less and false”, say­ing his group has no af­fil­i­a­tion with the CCP.

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