A small temple in Mianyang's Nanshan is at first glance any ordinary Buddhist shrine, but a closer look reveals gold-painted statues of Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Zhu De as well as portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin alongside the statues of the Bodhisattva.
The owner is 83-year-old Chen Dunquan, a native of a small village in Shehong County in Sichuan's Suining. He and a partner set up the temple, Hong En Temple, in 1996 using their pensions and funds from raising pigs.
After receiving public donations in 2003, Chen added the statues of the Communist figures. Today he and his wife take care of the temple, sweeping it daily and making repairs as necessary.
The temple reportedly suffered damage in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Thieves have also plundered loot from the temple over the years.
Chen said that he started the temple to pay homage to the leaders who made possible a better life for his family in modern China. A neighbor of the temple, also surnamed Chen, said that a temple of Mao Zedong isn't wrong because Chairman Mao has already risen to the status of a god.
Hong En Temple actually dates back to the 1700s, legend has it. But it was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, and it wasn't until Chen put his efforts into rebuilding it decades later that it had a second life.
Tea Leaf Nation translates some reactions of Weiboers seeing photos of Hong En Temple for the first time, who don't seem too impressed.
Hong En Temple Mianyang, Pucheng County, Shitang Town, Hongxing Village