China / Society

Man claims fire at temple 'was just a test'

By CAO YIN ( Updated: 2014-09-25 20:18

A man, suspected of starting a fire in a temple and intentionally destroying public property in a cemetery, went on trial at a Xinjiang court, a local authorized website reported on Thursday.

The suspect, named Wang, was accused of arson and intentional destruction of public property at Monday's trial at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the said.

Wang, 23, allegedly set fire to the Qingqiang Temple in Urumqi on Sept 28 last year, causing a treasure palace, worth at least 400,000 yuan ($65,182) to be damaged beyond repair, prosecutors said.

The prosecutors also said that Wang destroyed, with hammers, nine stone pillars with dragon patterns, two stone figures and several sculptures in August 2013 at the Dongshan Cemetery, in Urumqi. The repair fees reached more than 200,000 yuan.

Wang denied arson, saying he started the blaze because he wanted to see whether the Buddha could put out the fire or not, the report said.

"It was just a test, and I never thought the diesel oil could burn seriously. It was the negligence, not my intention," he was quoted as saying.

The trial is ongoing.

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