'Good nun, not good mum': Woman in China gives $1.1m to charity as daughter struggles

The woman converted in 2019 and became a nun before selling her home and giving away her wealth in keeping with Buddhist teachings, she says.
PHOTO: Photo: Weibo

A Chinese nun who sold her house for 5.88 million yuan (S$1.14 million) and gave the money to charity is at the centre of a social media firestorm.

The online furore erupted after it was revealed publicly the woman refused to use her wealth to help her struggling daughter who has gone into debt to pay her university fees.

The story went viral last week after a vlogger interviewed the Buddhist nun on a Shanghai street and posted it on mainland video platform Juliu Video.

The nun, whose name was not mentioned in the video, said she converted to Buddhism in 2019 and gave away her wealth.

“After becoming a nun, I sold my house and donated all the money, without leaving a cent to either my parents or my daughter,” she said in the video.

“My parents generally look at things from the bright side. They said it is your money. It’s your own business how to spend it. However, my daughter doesn’t understand my decision.”

The nun said her daughter has taken out student loans to pay for her university studies.

“She said when she graduates from university, she will take tests for some qualification certificates. Years later, she might get married or buy an apartment, so she hopes her mother can help her a bit financially,” said the nun.

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She said her family had been suspicious of her religious conversion and unsupportive of her decision to give away her wealth.

“My parents and my kid are still members of the secular world. They have been holding a suspicious attitude,” she said.

The nun described the place where she lives now as “a deep corner in a wood”.

The video of the nun has received more than 220 million views on Weibo, with tens of thousands of people discussing her motives for donating her wealth and excluding her daughter.

“I totally don’t understand. If you don’t want to leave any money to your daughter, why did you give birth to her? You are just shunning your responsibility,” wrote one person.

“She is mad and is extremely selfish!” Another commented.

A third person wrote: “You don’t help your own family, how can you help others?”

Some commenters were less critical. “A good Buddhist believer but maybe not a good mum,” one person wrote.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.