By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, January 17: The Chinese government is now up to bribing Tibetans inside Tibet to celebrate the upcoming Tibetan New Year ‘Losar’.
Speaking to Phayul, a Tibetan exile citing contacts inside Tibet said Chinese government officials were coaxing Tibetans with money and gifts to celebrate ‘Losar’ (February 22-24) against their wishes.
“I spoke to a Tibetan in Tibet and he told me that Chinese government is bribing them to celebrate Losar by giving them 500 Yuan for each family and 200 Yuan for each individual,” the Tibetan (name withheld) said.
Following the fiery wave of self-immolations that has engulfed eastern Tibet over the past 11 months, Tibetans inside Tibet are reportedly skipping the ‘Losar’ celebrations as a tribute to the 16 Tibetans who have self-immolated since March last year. The popular move is also see as gesture to pay respect and show solidarity with the families of the deceased and injured.
Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the largest pro-independence group in exile, in November last had urged Tibetans to forego the ‘Losar’ celebrations in keeping with the Tibetan tradition of abandoning new year celebrations following the death of a member in the family.
Referring to the unending wave of self-immolations by Tibetans inside Tibet, TYC had made an open appeal for a rescindment of Losar celebrations and urged Tibetans to instead contribute the expenditure usually incurred in celebrating the three-day event to the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration.
“99% of Tibetans in Tibet will not celebrate the Losar but few are afraid that if they don’t celebrate then it might become a political liability for them,” the Tibetan man told Phayul.
“It would become easy for the Chinese authorities to pin point Tibetans not celebrating ‘Losar’ as anti-China”.
Another exiled Tibetan who has close contacts with Tibetans inside the besieged Ngaba region of eastern Tibet, which alone has seen 11 instances of self-immolations, said that Tibetans were “determined to skip” the upcoming ‘Losar’ celebrations.
“Tibetans in Tibet are very much determined to skip the Tibetan New Year as we do to mark a black year when someone in one’s family dies,” said Kanyag Tsering, citing contacts inside Tibet.