Beijing: Authorities in China`s Shaanxi province have ordered to demolish some buildings inside a 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple, media reports have said, prompting a religion watchdog to call for an investigation on Thursday.
The Xingjiao Temple in Xi`an city, the capital of Shaanxi province, is the burial place of many eminent monks including Xuanzang who travelled to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures in the 7th century.
Media reports have said two-thirds of the buildings in the temple, which was constructed more than 1,300 years ago during the Tang Dynasty, were to be demolished by the end of May.
The reports triggered an outrage from the local people and other Chinese scholars, while some monks in the temple have vocally opposed the demolition plan.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs has urged religious authorities in Xi`an to investigate the case as reported by the media and consult local Buddhists before properly acting in line with relevant laws and policies, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The local government said the demolition was intended to clean up some unmatched buildings in the ancient temple so that the site could have a better chance of applying for UNESCO World Heritage status along with several other sites in Shaanxi province along the Silk Road, an ancient trade route.