Old Lhasa Being Demolished!
[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/04/29; April 29, 2002.]
29 April 2002
Demolition appears to have begun last Thursday on the building on the southeast corner where Dekyi Shar La (aka Beijing Dong Lu) and "Snowland Street" meet. Tenants of this building are reported to have been evicted. The city is planning to demolish the whole building complex which apparently includes an old residence called Samding.
Reports indicate the city plans to demolish the entire block around this building complex. The area concerned is the block beside (immediately north of) the well known tourist hotel "Snowlands," including the French restaurant, opposite (east of) the Pentoc Hotel and the Xiangbala Hotel. This block contains some important old aristocrat buildings, such as Phunkhang and Ganglha Metok and is one of the few remaining centers of traditional Tibetan buildings.
This area is approximately 3 mins walk from Jokhang square, which is the historic center of Lhasa. These traditional areas now constitute less than 1 square kilometer of Lhasa which has expanded to 53 square kilometers (more than double what it was in 1980.)
Many buildings in this area are old and in disrepair, but in most cases they are perfectly capable of renovation. While this demolition does not include monasteries or temples, it does include physical symbols of the remaining Tibetan cultural heritage. There are no signs of any consultation with local people.
It seems as if this demolition is being rushed through; one major political issue is that there is no longer any group to monitor and protect Tibetans from this kind of activity. A major architectural monitoring and restoration group was expelled in 2000.
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