An audiotape smuggled out of Tibet and purportedly made by Tibetan workers alleges that Chinese authorities are mishandling renovation work done on the famed Potala Palace in Lhasa.

VOA's Tibetan language service says the makers of the audiotape contend that ethnic Chinese workers helping with the project are not familiar with the intricacies of Tibetan architectural traditions or techniques. The Tibetans who made the tape urge United Nations officials to investigate.

China has not responded to the accusations.

The Potala Palace was transformed into a museum after the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and thousands of his followers fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising. The Chinese government says it is spending more than $40 million to renovate the 1,300-year-old palace, which looms over the Tibetan capital. Renovation work began last year.

Unlike many other Tibetan relics, the palace was not destroyed or even damaged during China's Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976.