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While closing two monasteries in anti-Covid-19 move, China reopens outdoor tourist sites in Lhokha

A view of the Samye Monastery in Lhokha, Tibet. (Photo courtesy: China Daily)

(TibetanReview.net, Apr22’20) – Chinese authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) recently announced the reopening of all outdoor tourist sites in Lhokha City as the novel coronavirus epidemic had waned, reported China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Apr 21 even as they had announced the closing of two Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the city as a measure against the global pandemic.

“Reopening some tourist sites is one of the city’s 10 measures for the resumption of work and production, as threat from the Covid-19 epidemic diminishes, and we will work hard to make sure that tourists are safe from the coronavirus while enjoying the tourism sites,” Luo Yun, head of the Lhokha tourism development bureau, was quoted as saying at a promotional event recently in Tibet’s capital Lhasa.

Luo has said his bureau expected more tourists from the region to explore the city’s scenic sites during the coming Labour Day holiday.

Referring to the city’s tourism potential, the report said Lhokha was known as the birthplace of Tibetan culture and the Tibetan people, as well as home to many firsts, including Tibet’s first palace, first monastery, first castle and first village. It cited Yardrok Yutso Lake, the Samye Monastery, the Mondroling Monastery and Tombs of the Tibetan Kings as the city’s other tourist destinations.

The report cited Wang Songping, director of the tourism department, as saying the TAR had received more than 40 million tourists from home and abroad last year and this was expected to increase this year.

Earlier, by notices dated on Apr 14 and 15, the authorities announced the closing of Samye and Yasang monasteries respectively in Lhokha city as a measure against the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was despite the fact that the Chinese authorities had allowed the reopening of 214 religious places in the rural part of Tibet’s capital Lhasa on Mar 31, saying the Covid-19 outbreak had basically been brought under control in the region.

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