By Tenzin Dharpo
Chinese police stationed near a Tibetan monastery. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 9: Tibetans in many parts of occupied Tibet have been restricted in celebrating Losar, the Tibetan new year. While many Tibetan government employees have been denied holidays and movements controlled during the festive season, police were sent to Tibetan localities in other parts creating an atmosphere of “threat and intimidation”.
In Eastern Tibet’s Serthar county in Sichuan province, Tibetan government workers were denied holiday on Losar resulting in many not being able to return to their hometowns for the celebrations, according to Radio Free Asia.
Similarly, Tibetans working for the Chinese government in Chamdo have been instructed against visiting monasteries to worship during Losar, especially on the first day of the Tibetan new year which fell on Feb. 5 and the remainder of the 15 day celebrations as is customary for Losar.
An anonymous source cited by RFA said that in Markham county and Chamdo, Chinese police were sent in numbers into Tibetan localities “to assess the mood of the people and the situation on the ground” and “clampdown has been put in place to prevent possible incidents.”
The Chinese government exercising heavy-handedness during Losar is not new with public gatherings during religious festivities and otherwise seen as a hot-bed for what many say is harshly labelled under the umbrella of engaging in activities against Beijing.
The Tibetan new year, the birthday of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and key religious festivals such as the Saka-dawa are few of the many heavily scrutinised dates inside occupied Tibet.