Spurred by health concerns and Buddhist benefits, vegetarianism is taking root in China
Xing Lihong decided to go vegan after spending a week at the Donglin Temple, Jiangxi province, in the summer of 2005—but she’d been readying herself for the decision since 2002; after reading Buddhist and nutritional texts, she began abstaining from meat on the first and 15th of every lunar month.
“At first, I felt hungry and craved for meat,” Xing confessed. “I often ate a lot after the two ‘vegetarian days,’ as a form of compensation.” But gradually she got used to the new regimen. “I’m convinced that ‘everything has a spirit,’ and it’s this belief that makes me stick to it.”
Xing is just one of a growing number of Chinese choosing to reject a traditional carnivorous diet in favor of a meat-free life. There are now around 50 million vegetarians in China, Xinhua estimates—about 3.5 percent of the population.
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