Ice and Fire
Ice and Fire
Attracted by Tanxu’s work in Yingkou and other Manchurian cities, government leaders in Harbin invited Tanxu there to construct a Buddhist temple. The motivations were, as elsewhere, both religious and political, aiming to bring Buddhism to a city that lacked a major temple, but also to use the architecture and location of the temple to promote Chinese nationalism in a city that had until recently been a Russian semi-colony, and retained a Russian identity in much of its population and infrastructure. Tanxu continued his work in Harbin, while also travelling throughout the region and even Japan as part of the East Asian Buddhist Conference, until 1932, when Japanese armies invaded Harbin and established the state of Manchukuo as a Japanese protectorate. Although insistent that he was not a guerrilla in the Japanese resistance, Tanxu’s patron, General Zhu Qinglan, attracted the attention of Japanese spies and police, and Tanxu soon fled to Xi’an.
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