This year, Abbas revisited China to explore themes of religious practice. On his recent visit to Kaifeng, a city in central China’s Henan province, Abbas sought out members of the Shaolin Kung Fu school school as they performed Kung Fu techniques for audiences of tourists.
“I went to the Shaolin Kung Fu school because, when I was doing my project on Buddhism in China in 2009 I had photographed a monk who had graduated from this school who had become a TV personality in Chengdu. I could not accept his invitation to visit Shaolin with him because the monastery was too far away, so when I was in Kaifeng recently, which is only a two-hour drive to Shaolin, I could not miss the opportunity. I even took some printouts of the monk to see if someone remembered him. I could not find the monk, but in the meantime, the Shaolin monastery had become a major school with hundreds of Kung Fu students, their performances a major attraction for Chinese visitors.”