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Temple guardian enjoys new internet fame

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-07-28

Temple guardian enjoys new internet fame

Lei Sifeng cleans the temple. [Photo/xinhuanet.com]

Lei Sifeng, a guardian of cultural relics in the Ancient City of Pingyao, Shanxi province, won an award for being the most inspiring Chinese internet celebrity in the second quarter of 2017.

The 52-year-old man has lived in Qingliang Temple, a national-level heritage site, for 14 years.

The temple, located in a secluded area of Pingyao, was built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and is home to seven colorful sculptures dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The beginning of the 21st century saw the theft of many cultural relics. Qingliang Temple suffered many losses.

But since 2003, when Lei moved to the temple with his family, the temple has not suffered any further thefts.

"It is my honor that the temple has been safe under my protection," said Lei in an interview.

To ensure the safety of the sculptures and his family, Lei often has to patrol the temple throughout the night, especially in winter and the Spring Festival, when the risk of a break-in increases.

During the interview, he captured a scorpion on his bed.

"Since the temple is not open to the public, scorpions are my most loyal visitors," Lei joked.

He was surprised by the level of interest he received on the internet, following years of living a reclusive life.

"I hope the lost cultural relics can come back home one day," said Lei.

"I'm growing old. But I'll always be here, waiting for them," he added.

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