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A leading Taoist priest and nun stirred controversy after it was revealed they had been secretly married for more than a decade and have a 15-year-old son together.
Ke Yuanli, the current abbot of Zhenjun Monastery, confirmed to media he married Zeng Yuanhui, 53, president of Taoism Association of Yueyang county, Hunan Province in 2002 after their relationship was leaked on social media.
Ke and Zeng are of the Quanzhen order of Taoism, which requires celibacy, said Huang Zhi'an, president of the Taoist Association of Hunan Province.
However, Ke said that Chinese law does not prohibit Taoist priests and nuns from marrying and said it was an issue of "personal beliefs," and that some couples practice the religion together to "cultivate their minds," btime.com reported.
"We have a marriage certificate, birth certificate and even obtained a one-child certificate. Our son turns 15 this year and will sit the high school entrance examinations soon," Ke told China Morning Newspaper.
Luo Fang, a senior official of Hunan National Religious Affairs Committee, told media that China's religious authorities only manage matters involving national interests and social public interests.
Marriage among Taoist priests is a matter to be handled internally by the Chinese Taoist Association, said Luo. （Global Times）