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Buddhist leader Hsing Yun wooed Beijing to access China

Venerated monk's politics were increasingly anachronistic in modern Taiwan

TAIPEI -- Hsing Yun, who promoted Buddhism around the world but courted controversy with his pro-Beijing views despite being based in Taiwan, died at the age of 95 on Feb. 5. His death leaves hundreds of thousands of devoted followers mourning their revered religious leader and deprives China of a powerful propaganda tool.

Over decades that encompassed the Chinese civil war, the rule in Taiwan of Kuomintang dictator Chiang Kai-shek and eventually, Taiwanese democratization, Hsing Yun was known for his extraordinary work in philanthropy and education through his Buddhist organization Fo Guang Shan. The sect was founded in the southern Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung, and became one of the most influential Buddhist institutions in the Chinese-speaking world.

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