The deputy director of the Chinese Buddhist Society, the director of the Guangdong Buddhist Society and the Abbott of Guangzhou’s Guangxiaosi Temple have proposed to appoint China’s traditional Tomb Sweeping Festival as a “National Vegetarian Day.” Advocates hope that in addition to worshipping their ancestors, those celebrating the festival can give up meat in order to promote benevolence, environmentalism and the equality of all living creatures.
In recent years the diets of the Chinese have been slowly changing, with people not only saying no to meat for religious reasons, but also for environmental, health and moral factors. Vegetarians in China have been increasingly rapidly, even though the current 50 million vegetarians make up a mere 4-5% of China’s population. Despite China’s relatively low percentage of vegetarians as compared to many other countries, the NPC delegates are hoping that the establishment of a National Vegetarian Day can make this lifestyle choice more popular.
In addition to the millions of Chinese who choose to avoid eating animal products, some celebrities have also decided to adhere to a vegetarian lifestyle, using their fame to promote vegetarianism. Chinese stars who don’t eat meat include Liu Dehua, Li Lianjie, Zhang Xueyou, Lin Xinru, Zhao Wei, Zhou Xun and Sun Lin.