By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, February 7: Tibet’s Government in exile Saturday announced that there would be only “customary religious” ceremonies and no celebrations to mark this year's Losar
(traditional Tibetan New Year), which will fall in the last week of this month.
This poster sent from Tibet calls for boycott of the Tibetan New year 2136. Media reports say many Tibetans in Tibet have also set aside other traditional observances such as fall picnic festivals and the yearly whitewashing of houses in a gesture aimed at honoring Tibetans who died during 2008 protests. (Phayul/file)
The decision has been made “taking into consideration of the continuing repression in Tibet and the ruthless crackdown last year which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Tibetans and thousands imprisoned,” the official website of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile said in its report.
According to the report, the Kashag
, the executive cabinet of the Central Tibetan Administration, has appealed to all the concerned departments and offices of the administration "not to organise any lavish and pompous celebrations such as hosting feasts, dance parties and lighting firecrackers."
“Similarly, the Kashag also directs all the officials of the administration to refrain from taking part in such gatherings,” the report said.
The report further said that the direction had also been given to “all the staff working in Tibetan settlements, offices of Tibet, schools and healthcare centres.”
“Last year in March, the Tibetan people across the traditional provinces of Tibet expressed their “deep-seated resentment against the wrong policies of the Chinese government in Tibet,” the report said.
According to the report, subsequent brutal crackdown by the Chinese military left more than 219 Tibetans dead and 1294 injured.
“Around 5,600 people are still under arrest or detention and more than 1000 missing,” the report said.
Prominent Tibetan NGOs in exile community have also made joint calls to forgo this year’s Losar celebration, first time that such an unprecedented move has been made in the course of their 50 years of freedom struggle.
Tibetans in Tibet have also signaled that they would refrain from celebrating as a quiet protest gesture, and have urged others to do the same in heated exchanges on the Internet.
However, inside Tibet, Chinese authorities are said to be deliberately encouraging Tibetans to celebrate the New Year with pomp and festivity, in some cases even giving out gifts and special presents to encourage celebrations.
This year, the traditional Tibetan New Year (2136 Earth Ox Year) falls on 25th February, just over two weeks before the 50th commemoration of the March 10th Tibetan National Uprising of 1959. March 10 will also mark one year since protests by Tibetan monks in Lhasa last year erupted into biggest protests among Tibetans in decades.