(TibetanReview.net, Jul03’20) – The Jokhang Temple, considered the most sacred in Tibet, appears to have become more important as a tourist attraction than as a place of worship under Chinese rule. China said the temple, located in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, was reopened to the public on Jul 2 after being closed for more than five months due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
The only reason why the temple has been opened now is because the peak tourism season has arrived. The whole of Tibet Autonomous Region has otherwise been free of Covid-19 at least since Feb 12 when the lone reported patient the region ever had, a visitor from China, was discharged after recovery. But then the main visitors would be Tibetan worshippers, which is of no concern to the atheist Chinese government.
The temple will be open from 8:30am to 6pm, and visitors will be required to line up to buy tickets at the ticket office before entry, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jul 2, citing the temple’s government appointed administrative committee.
The report said that for prevention and control of the epidemic, visitors would be required to wear masks, maintain a social distance of over one meter, and carry their ID cards, while tourists from outside the region would also be asked to show their health QR codes, and have their body temperatures taken.
China got the temple added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 mainly to boost its value as a tourist attraction.