LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Many Chinese Buddhists are up in arms over the planned destruction of buildings in a well-known ancient temple in the city of Xi’an. Last month, these Buddhists urged an investigation into the matter and various media sources reported that several buildings in Xingjiao Temple were to be smashed to pieces.
Built more than 1,300 years ago during the Tang Dynasty, this temple is the burial ground of many prominent monks, one of which is Xuanzang: “a Buddhist monk and Chinese pilgrim to India who translated the sacred scriptures of Buddhism from Sanskrit into Chinese.”
Advising religious authorities in Xi’an to explore the case as reported by the media, the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs asked the people in charge of the demolition to check with local Buddhists before acting consistently with appropriate policies and laws.
In response to the hubbub, the local government commented that the reason for tearing down these structures was to tidy up some unmatched buildings, so that the site could potentially apply for United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage status. According to UNESCO’s website, “The World Heritage List includes 962 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.”
In an attempt to protest the scheduled demolition, the temple proposed removing itself from the World Heritage status application.