A large fire has damaged one of the holiest and most politically sensitive sites in Tibet, the Jokhang temple, stirring an outpouring of grief and concern among Tibetans, the Guardian reported.
Dramatic picture posted on social media showed flames devouring part of the seventh-century Unesco world heritage site in Tibet’s spectacular high-altitude capital, Lhasa, on Saturday.
China’s Communist party-controlled news agency, Xinhua, said the blaze started early on Saturday evening “and was soon put out”.
However, Robert Barnett, a London-based expert on contemporary Tibet, said Beijing’s “almost total suppression of information” about the incident meant many Tibetans feared “the heart of Tibetan Buddhism” had suffered significant damage.
For almost four hours after the fire began, he said, it was not even acknowledged by China’s heavily controlled media, “even though you could see it from miles away across the whole city”.