Sacred Tibetan Jokhang temple damaged by fire

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A sacred Buddhist site in Tibet has been damaged by fire.

The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa is one of the most important sites in the region.

The fire broke out at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at around 6.40pm local time on Saturday, according to state media.

Xinhua news agency said no casualties had been reported.

The extent of the damage to the site, which has more than 1,300 years of history, remains unclear.

“The fire was quickly extinguished, there were no casualties and order is normal in the area,” said the state-run Tibet Daily.

But on Twitter, which is blocked in China, some said photos and posts about the fire were being censored.

This picture taken on September 10, 2016 shows Chinese tourists on the roof of the Jokhang Temple in the regional capital Lhasa, in China's Tibet Autonomous Region Sacred Tibetan Jokhang temple damaged by fire Sacred Tibetan Jokhang temple damaged by fire skynews tibet temple jokhang 4234139
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The Jokhang Temple, seen in 2016, is a sacred site for Tibetans

Robert Barnett, a US-based expert on Tibet, tweeted: “Sources in Lhasa claim police have threatened anyone distributing pictures or unofficial news about the fire; locals afraid to talk.

“Official information extremely limited, raising concern about extent of damage.

“Access to area round temple said to be restricted.”

Footage sent anonymously to the New York Times showed the temple’s roof covered in flames and men in military uniforms responding to the fire.

Tibet has been ruled by China since the 1950s.

Sine then, China has been accused of trying to repress the nation’s Buddhist culture.

But Beijing says its rule has brought economic growth to Tibet and that Tibetans still have extensive freedoms.



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