Chinese deities flown on business class to Malaysia
China / July 5, 2017

Image captionChinese sea goddess Mazu went viral after she was seen travelling in business class Images of three revered Chinese deity statues went viral on social media after they were seen travelling in business class on a flight from China’s port city of Xiamen to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. But what is the story behind it? Who are the divine passengers? The first was the Chinese sea goddess Mazu (also known as Matsu), widely worshipped in southern China as well as countries with large Taoist and Chinese Buddhist communities such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. She is a patroness of the sea and is believed to protect fishermen and sailors.      The other two statues are Qianliyan and Shunfeng’er, heavenly guardians of the goddess. Qianliyan is known for his powers of far-sightedness while the demon Shunfeng’er possesses the incredible ability to hear all sounds carried by the wind, a role believed to aid sailors and passing ships from advancing storms. Why were they in business class? The three statues were sent to Malaysia and Singapore as part of an inaugural cultural exchange tour to pay tribute to the sea goddess and celebrate a festival in her name. It was…