Published: Mon, February 19, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Sacred Tibetan monastery hit by fire

Sacred Tibetan monastery hit by fire

Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua said that the fire was put out soon and that there were no casualties.

A fire broke out at one of the most sacred temples in Tibetan Buddhism, prompting concern and suspicion that information on the incident is being controlled by authorities. Firefighters have doused the fire and the relics are intact, the brief report said without providing details.

"Tibetans consider Lhasa to be a sacred place, but Jokhang is a sacred place within that sacred place - the most sacred in all of Tibet", she said.

Video and images posted on social media of the blaze showed the roof of a section of the building lit with roaring yellow flames and emitting a haze of smoke.

The complex is more than 1,000 years old and has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, the BBC reported.

In 2018, as the new year fell on February 16 in both the Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese agricultural calendars, Jokhang Monastery expected a surge in visitors and believers praying for the new year.

Some Tibetans overseas alleged that Chinese authorities were censoring any photos or news about the blaze.

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Chinese troops marched in in 1950, in what Beijing terms a "peaceful liberation".

He also tweeted that sources in Lhasa "claim police have threatened anyone distributing pictures or unofficial news about the fire". The cause of the fire is unknown or has not yet been revealed.

Since occupying Tibet in the 1950s, China has been taking a repressive approach to local demands for more autonomy or independence, while restricting visits by outsiders to the region.

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