Authorities have announced a ban on temples selling shares to investors after managers of several popular ones planned to pursue stock market listings for them as commercial entities. Even the famed Shaolin Temple of kung fu movie fame was once rumored to be planning a stock market debut.
Some observers have criticized such plans as a step too far in China's commercial culture.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs says some local governments, businesses and individuals have built religious sites for profit, hired fake monks and tricked visitors into handing over money.
It warned in its announcement this week of serious punishment for officials found to be involved in religious profiteering.