By Erik Crouch
Image credit: @shadowsofthesun.
Local officials want to demolish nearly two-thirds of an ancient buddhist temple in Xi’an to gain UNESCO-approval for the site. “Some buildings will be demolished because it would make the environment more elegant,” says Zhang Ning,
village idiot head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs bureau, who says that the buildings would be “rebuilt with a new and prettier look.” Just when you thought local officials couldn’t get any thicker (seriously: they have set the bar low) they try some shit like this.
According to The Telegraph:
The 1,300 year-old temple is home to three towers, one of which contains the remains of Xuanzang, a 7th century Buddhist monk revered for undertaking a 17-year pilgrimage to India.
While those towers will not be affected, many of the surrounding buildings have been slated for demolition by May. Some of those constructions date from between 1644 and 1911, according to the China Daily newspaper.
Also, in case the plan of UNESCO-status-by-fucking-everything seemed too airtight, South China Morning Post reports:
What could be worse for the temple and the monks is that the demolition plan doesn’t guarantee Unesco status. An official in charge of the application process, Chen Tongbin, indicated that the buildings could be destroyed and monks relocated for nothing, the Daily reported based on different accounts.
Local monks—who freaking live in the temple—are understandably frustrated that their homes may be demolished by local authorities who apparently don’t have the slightest understanding of conservation.
This isn’t the first time Chinese officials haven’t exactly acted in the spirit of UNESCO regulations, this month it was revealed that Tianmen Mountain, a UNESCO world heritage site, will soon be graced by a McDonald’s restaurant.