By Tenzin Dharpo
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, June 28: Tibetans in Draggo County in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in eastern Tibet have reportedly been warned against celebrating the birthday of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama by the Chinese authorities.
Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile revere the Dalai Lama who turns 83 next month as the foremost figure; his birthday is a prominent day in the calendar of the Tibetans and its celebration is identified as a form of resistance by China in occupied Tibet.
Radio Free Asia which published a report on June 27 cited an anonymous source saying, “as the Dalai Lama’s birthday [July 6] is just around the corner, the Tibetans in Draggo have been warned against celebrating with religious observances such as prayer gatherings or offerings of incense.”
Celebrating the birthday of the Dalai Lama or even possession of his photo is considered illegal in occupied Tibet with two Tibetans being arrested just earlier this month from a place called Rimakor in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Draggo county, according to RFA.
“Both of them have been held in detention ever since the Chinese took them away. One of the men is named Yama Tashi, but the other man’s name is unknown,” a source said, adding a raid in the home of the two men resulted in the discovery of the Dalai Lama’s photo.
“Local government officials in Draggo have been carrying out a clean-up campaign against ‘criminal gangs’ and ‘bad social elements’ at the direction of higher authorities, and we are now seeing an intensified crackdown with tightened controls imposed on all Tibetans,” the same source said.
Beijing’s communist leadership reviles the Nobel Peace laureate and labels him a “separatist” among many other things and have rejected the proposal of the ‘middle way approach’ championed by the Tibetan leader. The Chinese government has gone so far as to claim “legitimate” right over the succession of the Tibetan leader prompting leading international governments such as the United States passing resolutions disparaging such claims by China.
The Dalai Lama has been stern in quashing the claims over his reincarnation by China adding that the authority over his rebirth rests solely with him. Tibetans believe that the current Dalai Lama is the 14th reincarnation of his predecessors.