The ancient city of Aksai Chin, in the central Chinese province of Yunnan, is considered to be the holiest place in the world.
For thousands of years, this ancient site, built between the 6th and 10th centuries AD, was used to worship the god, Buddha.
The temple is still standing today and has been in continuous use for more than 2,000 years.
The Chinese government decided in 2014 to end its long-standing practice of placing a plaque on the temple’s facade.
In a letter, the Chinese government said that it will continue to mark the monument with the inscription, “One Hundred years of Buddha’s teaching”.
However, a recent poll conducted by the Aksa Chin Cultural Heritage Committee (CCHC) indicated that the majority of respondents in the survey believed that the plaque should remain on the facade.
“We think that it should be removed,” said Chen Yan, a professor at the University of Arakan, who was the lead researcher of the survey.
“It’s the first time that a statue has been removed from the site and placed in a public place,” he told The Hindu.
“Aksai is famous for its Buddhism and we think that if there’s no statue at all, it will have to go.”
The CCCHC poll was conducted in August.
It showed that 72 percent of respondents supported removing the statue, while 27 percent said they were against the move and 13 percent were undecided.
According to Chen, the survey indicated that in the past, the majority have been supportive of the decision to remove the plaque.
However, he said that more people were not aware that the decision was in fact taken.
“The majority of the people in Aksae were unaware that it was a decision taken by the government,” he said.
“Most people didn’t even know what Buddha’s name means.”
The temple was also built as a religious and administrative centre.
In the first century AD, Buddhism spread to Yunnan and other parts of China and it was established in the 12th century.
Today, it is the main Buddhist centre in Yunnan.
Aksu Chin is located at a point near the city of Linyi, and it is also a pilgrimage destination for Chinese Buddhists who visit the city to pay homage to the Buddha.
It is also home to the Buddhist temple of Nanchang, which has a larger area than Aksas Chin.
According a 2009 census, there were 3,958 temples in China.
“In the past century, a lot of the temples in Amsai Chin have been demolished,” Chen said.
According the CCCH survey, 80 percent of the respondents said they would not support the decision.
The Aksac Chin Cultural Centre was the main temple in the area.
“But the majority are still supportive of [the move],” said Chen.
“Even the people who voted against the statue say that it’s a good decision.”
The Chinese Government decided to remove all the Buddhist statues from Aksak Chin.
It said that the removal would not affect religious and cultural heritage of the area, but the decision could hurt local tourism.
“If the statue is removed, the area will lose a lot more visitors and will have a negative effect on tourism,” Chen added.
“Tourism is a big factor in Atsai Chin and it’s important to maintain the local tourism as well.”
In addition to the statue removal, the CCCC also asked for the government to take measures to ensure that religious sites were preserved in the future.
“To preserve religious heritage, we need to take action against the demolition of religious sites,” Chen explained.
“There are still many temples that have been destroyed in Achesai Chin.
If we remove the statues, we will have no choice but to dismantle the entire temple and rebuild it.”
However, the government said it will not take any action until the survey results are in.
According that survey, 79 percent of those polled said that they supported the decision, while 19 percent opposed it.
“I’m not against the decision,” said a 55-year-old woman from Atsak Chin, who did not want to give her name.
“This is what we are used to here.
There’s nothing wrong with this.”
She said that since the statue was removed, she has been able to visit the temple several times.
She said she has seen the statue in the temple for years, and that she had come to Aksajen, Yunnan’s second-largest city, to visit her grandfather.
“My grandfather used to tell me stories about when he was a young boy and how the statue of Buddha was there in Apsak Chin,” she said.
The woman said that she and her family visited the temple when she was in her early 20s.
“After the statue came down, I thought about it and decided to take it out of the temple.
I’ve visited it many times since,” she added.
According this survey, the percentage of respondents who