torsdag 17. desember 2020

Xi Jinping's temple snub hints at Japan's drop on priority list

When Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to the city of Yangzhou on the bank of the Yangtze River in November, he chose not to visit the Daming Temple, according to a local resident familiar with the trip. The renowned temple was headed by the Tang dynasty-era monk Jianzhen, known as Ganjin in Japanese, and is seen as a symbol of historical ties between Japan and China.

Ganjin reached Japan in the eighth century after five failed attempts, each time being blocked by rough seas and eventually losing his eyesight during the journey. He spent the rest of his life in Japan, helping spread the teachings of Buddhism and is widely admired by the Japanese to this day. To eager China watchers, this omission seemed like a subtle signal that the Chinese leader is not so committed to his state visit to Japan, which was originally scheduled for April but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The state-run Xinhua news agency was silent on whether Xi visited Ganjin's temple. He did visit an adjacent graveyard dedicated to those who died in the Chinese Revolution, according to locals.