His Holiness the Dalai Lama attends the official function of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising in Dharamsala, March 10, 2009. Phayul file/Tenzin Dasel
Dharamsala, July 22 – The Chinese government authorities in Chogro (spelled as pronounced) in Kardze are forcing Tibetans to display pictures of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama on their altars, according to the Voice of Tibet radio service. The Tibetans in the region are surprised yet suspicious about the latest move by the authorities.
Phurba, a monk of Trehor Khangsten (house) of the Drepung loseling monastery in south India, said he has received the information from reliable sources in Chogro that falls in traditional Tibetan area of Trehor.
The authorities are saying that the ban on the pictures of the Dalai Lama in the past was not a government order but some individuals have restricted the Tibetans to possess pictures of the Dalai Lama whom China accuses of inciting separatism, according to Phurba.
Phurba added that no Tibetans have put the Dalai Lama’s pictures on display in their homes so far.
The Tibetans are surprised at this new order but careful not to be fooled by what analysts call the ‘carrot and stick policy’. The Tibetans find it hard to believe that the authorities who had forced them to renounce the Dalai Lama are now asking them to put the Tibetan leader's pictures on display.
In some bigger towns the authorities have even provided their own enlarged prints of the Dalai Lama’s pictures.
Tibetans in Tibet are not allowed by the Chinese government to even possess pictures of the Dalai Lama, let alone displaying it openly, said Phurba.
Several cases of Tibetans getting lengthy jail terms for possessing pictures of the 74-year-old Tibetan leader have been reported in the past.
The authorities in Tongkhor burned around 18 sacks of Dalai Lama’s pictures just a few months ago, Phurba added.