DHARAMSHALA, September 29: The Chinese authorities in the restive Driru county are forcing Tibetans to participate in an annual festival, which the Tibetan had boycotted five years ago following a deluge of self immolations in Tibet.
A Tibetan source said the Tibetans are warned that they may face punitive actions or even imprisonment for defying the orders. The Chinese authorities, the source added, are trying to show that the Tibetans are happy.
Residents of Tsala town, a cluster of nine villages dependent on cordyceps fungus for livelihood, have been warned that they might lose the right to collect the highly priced fungus, according to the source.
Youth of the town are now compelled to practice songs and dances for the festival which is being forced upon the residents, he said.
“We know that the real purpose of the [Chinese] plan is to allow senior leaders to show that the Tibetan people are happy and living in prosperity,” he said.
“We have no choice but to comply.”
Chinese government considers Driru one of the most restive regions brewing anti government sentiments and activities in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Over a thousand people were arrested since October last year when defiant Tibetan refused to hoist the Chinese national flag on their houses as s show of nationalism ahead of China’s national day celebrations.