Xiamen launches plan for ‘public civilization’
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.