Abbot Involved in Extortion Case Over Affair with Female Anchor Has Ordination Certificate Revoked

On December 26, 2023, the website of the Buddhist Association of China published an announcement regarding the revocation of Shi Zhaojie’s (secular name: Zhang Bin) Buddhist ordination certificate, stating, “Recently, our association received a report from the Sichuan Province Buddhist Association regarding the handling of Shi Zhaojie. According to relevant regulations, our association has revoked his ordination certificate, with the certificate number being 20031307.”

The ordination certificate, issued by the Buddhist Association of China, serves as proof of ordination for religious personnel.

According to the “Regulations on the Qualification Certification of Han Buddhism Clergy,” the decision to revoke the qualification of clergy is collectively made by the executive council of the Buddhist association where the clergy is located. After approval by the Buddhist association of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government where the clergy is registered, the decision is reported to the religious affairs department of the people’s government for cancellation of registration and revocation of the Buddhist clergy certificate. When a clergy’s qualification is revoked, the ordination certificate is to be collected by the temple or Buddhist association where they serve and reported to the Buddhist Association of China for cancellation.

Previously, reports claimed that an abbot in Sichuan was extorted after having an affair with a female anchor, Cai, and her husband, Qian, both of whom were prosecuted for extortion involving millions. The Paper confirmed from multiple sources that the abbot was Shi Zhaojie, the head of Shixiang Temple in Pujiang County, Chengdu.

Public records show that Shi Zhaojie previously held positions such as the vice-president of the Sichuan Province Buddhist Association and the president of the Pujiang County Buddhist Association in Chengdu. On December 20, 2022, the Twelfth Standing Committee of the Sichuan Provincial Political Consultative Conference approved the list of members for the Thirteenth Committee, including Shi Zhaojie as a religious member.

On November 7, 2023, a staff member of the Sichuan Provincial Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee confirmed to The Paper that Shi Zhaojie had resigned from his position as the vice-president of the Sichuan Religious Association. However, it was unclear when he had resigned.

On January 19, 2024, Sichuan media Chuan Guan News reported that at the fifth meeting of the Standing Committee of the Thirteenth Sichuan Provincial Political Consultative Conference held on January 19, it was decided to revoke Shi Zhaojie’s membership of the Thirteenth Committee of the Political Consultative Conference of Sichuan Province due to alleged disciplinary and legal violations and improper conduct.