Tibet: Fire reported at sacred Jokhang Monastery

The monastery with a history of more than 1,000 years caught fire early evening

The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa is one of the most important sites in the region. No injuries or damage to relics has been reported.

The social media users are uploading the images and the videos allegedly showing the temple's roof in flames.

A large fire broke out Saturday at the Jokhang monastery in Tibet, raising fears of severe damage to a 1,300-year-old religious site that's considered the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism.

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Chinese troops marched in in 1950, in what Beijing terms a "peaceful liberation". The fire started at 6.40 pm yesterday but was soon brought under control, it said. Barnett said he received calls from distraught Tibetans mourning the apparent destruction of one of their most sacred sites.

The fire came at a particularly sensitive time, as Friday marked both the Tibetan New Year or Losar, and the Lunar New Year celebrated in the rest of China and in several other Asian nations.

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The temple had been closed to the public on Saturday, Xinhua reported, citing a schedule from local authorities from before the holiday began.

Tibet has been ruled by China since the 1950s.

Later that year, dozens of monks burst into Jokhang temple to interrupt a state-run foreign media press tour meant to showcase the region's harmony and stability in wake of the protests, accusing the government of lying.

More than 150 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Beijing since 2009, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, headquartered in Washington.

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