Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay(Phayul archive/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, January 24: The exile Tibetan administration has called for a boycott of festive celebrations during Losar (Tibetan new year) which falls on February 11 in light of the ongoing crisis inside Tibet.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, in a release today, requested all Tibetans to forgo the usual new year festivities given the “continuing tragic situation” in Tibet.
“Instead, when this year’s holiday falls on February 11, I ask you to perform only the customary religious rituals like visiting temples and making offerings,” Sikyong Sangay said. “Do wear our traditional robe (Chuba) to display our identity and tradition. Kindly pray for all who have sacrificed their lives and for all who continue to suffer in occupied Tibet.”
Since 2009, as many as 98 known Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
Three fiery deaths have occurred in Tibet this year alone with the most recent self-immolation by Kunchok Kyab, 26, in the Bora region of Labrang, eastern Tibet.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration renewed its call of marking the year 2013 as the “Solidarity With Tibet Campaign” year. Thousands of Tibetans are expected to gather in the Indian capital New Delhi from January 30 – February 2, to take part in four days of intensive campaigning as part of CTA’s solidarity year events. Likewise, on March 10, 2013, Tibetans from all over Europe will also be gathering in Brussels, the capital city of the EU, to observe the 54th Tibetan national uprising day.
“Let us build on the successful lobbying efforts of 2012 by fully engaging throughout 2013 in the “Solidarity With Tibet Campaign,” Sikyong Sangay said.
“I urge all Tibetan Associations, Tibet Support Groups, international NGOs, people of all faiths, and friends of justice throughout the world to intensify efforts to lobby parliaments and governments. Call on the Chinese government to allow international delegation and media access into Tibet. Reach out to your local and national media and encourage them to write and broadcast about what is happening in Tibet. In all endeavours, please continue to conduct our campaign in a peaceful, legal and dignified manner.”
He further appealed to Chinese “brothers and sisters” to join Tibetans in “supporting the aspirations of the Tibetan people.”
“The CTA remains committed to the Middle-Way Approach and to resolve the issue of Tibet peacefully through dialogue,” Tibet’s de facto
Prime Minister said. “The responsibility as well as the solution for the current crisis in Tibet lies with the Chinese government.”
Sikyong Sangay assured Tibetans inside Tibet that exile Tibetans are with them “in every step of the way” and appealed not to undertake drastic actions.
The Tibetan new year generally falls in the months of February or March according to the Tibetan lunar calendar.
This is the fifth year in a row, following China’s brutal crackdown of the 2008 peaceful protests in Tibet, that Tibetans are observing muted Losar celebrations.