By Tendar Tsering
Chinese military police rushes in to supress Tibetans engaged in the "farming boycott' in Drakgo in Kham (Luhuo County, Ganzi Perfecture, Sichuan Province). (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, May 10: In a strong show of unity and solidarity with the families of Tibetan self-immolators and political prisoners, Tibetans in Amdo Ngaba Adhue region of eastern Tibet have launched a farming boycott movement in protest against the Chinese government.
The Tibetans had also earlier announced a boycott of the seasonal Yartsa Gunbu (Ophiocordyceps sinensis, colloquially known as caterpillar fungus) harvesting, which is a hugely beneficial business in the region.
“Tibetans in the Adhue region have boycotted farming in a spirit of solidarity and support with the families of the self-immolators,” the exile base of Kirti monastery said in release earlier today. “They are also demanding the release of all Tibetan political prisoners arrested in a series of protests that have struck the region.”
According to the release, Tibetans on the boycott have stated that the sacrifices made by the Tibetan self-immolators and prisoners are for the sake of all the Tibetan people and not for their personal glorification.
The fiery wave of self-immolation protests in Tibet has witnessed 35 Tibetans torch their bodies demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. Mass protests in recent months have been violently suppressed following a call for “war” on peaceful protests by senior Chinese leaders
Farming is the main source of livelihood for Tibetans in Adhue with the seasonal Yartsa Gunbu harvest forming a viable source of additional income.
According to sources, Tibetans in the region are bound to face economic hardships in the coming months as a result of the boycott.
“Boycotting farming is like sitting on a fast,” Tashi, an exiled Tibetan from the region told Phayul. “If farmers don’t till the land, what will they eat?”
In 2009, a large number of Tibetans in the Kardze region of Tibet had also led a similar farming boycott movement in defiance of China’s repressive policies.