China announces reopening of operations at 214 temples in rural Lhasa

File photo: Tibetans prostrating in front of Jokhang Temple.

(, Apr02’20) – A total of 214 religious places in the rural part of Tibet’s capital Lhasa had been reopened on Mar 31 as the Covid-19 outbreak had basically been brought under control in the region, reported China’s official Apr 2. This did not mean, however, that the coercive political indoctrination and surveillance measures had now been lifted. Rather, it may mean that these have now been resumed. It also possibly means, as the report said, that worshippers, subject to health certification, can now visit these religious places.

It is not clear whether places of religious study and worship in places outside Lhasa had been placed under lockdown and if “yes” whether they will also be reopened likewise. China’s official position is that there are 1,778 venues for practicing Tibetan Buddhism and some 46,000 resident monks and nuns in the whole of Tibet Autonomous Region.

The report said most of the city’s monasteries had been closed to public visits over health concerns since Jan 28, with religious activities involving big gatherings cancelled.

The report cited an announcement Mar 30 by the Lhasa Buddhism Association as saying the city will reopen the monasteries in rural areas first, those in the urban towns second, and finally those in the central town.

The report said the reopening dates for Lhasa’s Drepung, Sera, Gandan and Tsurphu monasteries and the Jokhang temple was unknown as these sites normally see a large flow of people.

Chinese-ruled TAR reported zero new infections for 62 consecutive days as of Mar 31. Only one case had been reported since the outbreak, and that person, a visitor from China, recovered and was released in mid-February.


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