|Phayul[Saturday, May 11, 2013 23:51]|
In a petition written earlier this month, which went viral on Wiebo and was quickly censored, the award-winning Tibetan writer noted that China is changing the face of Lhasa by building a new shopping mall in the heart of the Old City, “thoroughly clearing” the circum-ambulation path around the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest shrine.
The letter, ‘Our Lhasa is on the Verge of Destruction! Please, Save Lhasa!’ was reposted on her blog, Invisible Tibet, and has been translated into English.
The Barkhor Shopping Mall, once completed, would cover an area of 150,000 sq m and have more than 1,000 underground parking spaces, according to its developer.
She further states that the destruction of the ancient city of Lhasa, the oldest part of which date back to the 7th century, is taking place on other streets and allies in the Old City as well, such as the space in front of the Ramoche temple where big public squares are to be opened up and the surrounding households are to be moved to the suburbs.
Woeser laments that the Old City will never again be the street of those Tibetans who circumambulate, come on pilgrimage, and prostrate themselves.
“And now, the area in front of the Jokhang, which has borne witness to so much change over the ages, has no more of the pilgrims from Kham and Amdo who prostrate themselves all the way from the far borders to Lhasa; no more lamp pavilions in which thousands and tens of thousands of butter lamp offerings were lit every day,” she writes.
Woeser, in her letter, calls on UNESCO, Tibetologists, and other organisations to stop China’s frightful “modernisation” and pay close attention to the “unredeemable misfortune that is befalling the Old City of Lhasa right at this very moment.”
Responding to Woeser’s appeal, nearly 1000 people have already signed a petition urging Kishore Rao, Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre to use his position and influence to stop China's “willful destruction of the old city of Lhasa.”