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ARC formally working with Jiangsu Daoist Association to build new ecological temples in China

January 2, 2018:

The Daoists have been leaders in protecting environments, because they are sacred

January 2, 2018. ARC is delighted to announce that we are formally launching a joint project with Jiangsu Daoist Association to build Daoist ecological temples across China.

This project arises from the Daoist Ecological Temples Network formed in 2006 by a partnership between the China Daoist Association, Shaanxi Province, ARC and the Ecological Management Foundation (EMF).

After starting with just one temple (Taibaishan, Shaanxi Province) the Network now consists of over 200 temples and is still expanding. It provides ecological education, facilitates message dissemination on wildlife, mercy release and vegetarian fasting, organize youth camps and support the adoption of ecological practices in Daoist temples across China.

This project is formally registered as a temporary project under China’s Overseas NGOs Law, which stipulates that all foreign NGOs in China must either register as representative offices or file records as temporary projects. Of the more than 7,000 foreign NGOs operating in China, to date only 293 NGOs have managed to set up representative offices and just 451 projects have been registered as temporary projects.

HRH Prince Philip discusses Daoist environment projects with Master Zhang Gaocheng at Windsor Castle 2017
As a foreign NGO with a profile of working with religions to support environmental action, ARC is delighted to be able to continue working legally in China with our Daoist partners to promote best ecological practices and provide environmental education.

This is also a demonstration that the Chinese government is open to work with foreign NGOs willing to operate within the boundaries of Chinese laws even in areas such as religions and environment, which are traditionally considered very sensitive.

Daoism has a history going back over 2,000 years. Today it is estimated that 170 million people follow Daoism to some extent. As the quest for something deeper and more meaningful than just consumerist capitalism draws millions of people around the world to seek wisdom in their ancient traditions, Daoism is an inspiring force for facilitating the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the most populated country in the world.

Old Master Ren discusses Daoist environment programmes with Olav Kjorven, then UN Assistant Secretary General
ARC has over 20 years of experience working with Chinese religious communities in China on issues related to environment.

“Our programme with the Daoists of China helping to protect their sacred mountains was the first major project of ARC in 1995,” said ARC’s secretary-general Martin Palmer.

“It has always been a project that HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, ARC’s founder, has felt embodies why ARC exists and how we can learn from ancient traditions such as Daoism. This is a project not just for China but for the world.”

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