Xi­a­men launches plan for ‘pub­lic civ­i­liza­tion’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By CHEN MEILING

The Nan­putuo Tem­ple of Xi­a­men, in East China’s Fu­jian prov­ince, has spread its fo­cus on car­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment and peo­ple among lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, lead­ing by ex­am­ple.

Within its walls, there is no smoky air, lit­ter or noisy crowds of sell­ers or for­tunetellers.

In­stead, tourists and be­liev­ers qui­etly wait in line to pray to the golden Bud­dha stat­ues.

As one of the oldest Bud­dhist tem­ples in China, Nan­putuo Tem­ple is lo­cated in the Sim­ing district of Xi­a­men and its his­tory can be dated back to the Tang Dy­nasty (618-907).

It is also one of the top eight at­trac­tions in Xi­a­men, wel­com­ing about 6 mil­lion vis­i­tors ev­ery year, ac­cord­ing to Lin Rui, a di­rec­tor at the tem­ple.

It be­gan to pro­mote a se­ries of re­for­ma­tions to con­struct a civ­i­lized, clean and pure en­vi­ron­ment in 2005, fea­tur­ing no charges for vis­i­tors, no com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity and no bar­rier to en­trance, he said.

“Though it re­duced the in­come of the tem­ple more than 10 mil­lion yuan ($1.48 mil­lion) ev­ery year, this way we can bet­ter serve so­ci­ety and pu­rify peo­ple,” he said.

The tem­ple ad­vo­cates self­dis­ci­pline for tourists, in­clud­ing no smok­ing, no lit­ter and no noise. To do that, it re­moved all the garbage cans in 2014, he said.

Vol­un­teers and so­cial work­ers were hired to re­mind tourists of any pos­si­ble un­civ­i­lized be­hav­ior, Lin added.

Hong Lup­ing, a vol­un­teer at the tem­ple, said it takes about 40 min­utes to walk around, in teams of three or four, to pick up lit­ter while hold­ing a board say­ing “no garbage on the ground”.

Many ci­ti­zens and tourists are will­ing to take away their trash. ” Hong Lup­ing, a vol­un­teer at the Nan­putuo Tem­ple

In the past, the lit­ter they picked up in the tem­ple would fill up six buck­ets, but now they only need to use half a bucket, she said.

“Many ci­ti­zens and tourists are will­ing to take away their trash. I feel a strong sense of ac­com­plish­ment when see­ing this change,” she said.

T he “pub­lic civ­i­liza­tion” ini­tia­tive was also launched across the whole Sim­ing district in 2015, in­clud­ing cross­ing the street on ze­bra cross­ings, park­ing bikes and cars in an or­derly fash­ion and pro­tect­ing pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties.

A group of 170 vol­un­teers rode bi­cy­cles across the district to help pro­mote the idea of us­ing shared bikes prop­erly as part of a one-month pub­lic ben­e­fit event held from May to June.

They helped rear­range in­con­sid­er­ately placed bikes, telling ci­ti­zens to obey the traf­fic rules and not to let chil­dren un­der 12 years old ride bikes on the road.

A lo­cal man sur­named Wang, 31, par­tic­i­pated in the ac­tiv­ity. He said shared bikes made lives more con­ve­nient, but un­civ­i­lized be­hav­ior was re­ported from time to time.

“I hope to call on more peo­ple to pro­tect pub­lic prop­erty through the event,” he said.

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