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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Kung-fu monks seek help from law
A Shaolin monk shows off his acrobatic skills
Shaolin monks are renowned for their acrobatic skills
The warrior monks of China's Shaolin temple have applied to trademark their name in more than 80 countries, Chinese state media says.

The monks, famed for their martial arts skills, want to stop their image being used to sell products across the world.

They said there are already 54 brands in China that have Shaolin-related trademarks, and fake temples elsewhere.

"These... have nothing to do with Shaolin temple in Songshan, Henan province," said a senior monk.

As well as being the inspiration for dozens of Hollywood kung-fu movies, the monks have amazed live audiences across the world with their feats of agility and balance.

Accused of violations

But Shi Yongxin, abbot of the Buddhist temple, said they had to be careful not to tread on the toes of other brands when touring overseas.

Map showing Shaolin, China
"We cannot perform Shaolin kung-fu when going abroad for cultural exchanges otherwise the holder of the Shaolin kung-fu trademark in the local place would accuse us of violation," he was quoted as saying to the official Xinhua news agency.

The 1,500-year-old temple in Henan has applied to the UN's cultural body for recognition as a world heritage site.

But that has not stopped the Shaolin name being used to sell a range of goods, from beer, wine and cigarettes to furniture and tyres.

And there are imitation temples as far afield as the west coast of the United States, Vienna and Budapest.

China's fighting monks
23 Sep 02 |  Asia-Pacific


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