Tibetans tell relatives in exile to not contact them during Losar celebrations

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LHASA [TIBET]: Tibetans in Tibet have told their relatives in exile to refrain from contacting them during the Tibetan New Year, Losar, from February 20-26, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

This comes as Tibetans fear persecution by Chinese authorities amid an increase in surveillance activities and surprise security searches during the politically sensitive time, sources in the region said, according to RFA.

Chinese authorities have during Losar celebrations, clamped down on Tibetans, with cellphone checks and raids in Lhasa, Xigatse and Chamdo, the sources said

The Chinese authorities before the holiday warned against holding events that could endanger national security and said they would take immediate action against them.

A Tibetan living in Dharamsala, India, called his relatives in China’s western Tibet Autonomous Region to wish them well for the Tibetan New Year, but they asked that he not contact them, RFA reported.

“After a long time, I called my family members in Lhasa to give them Losar greetings, but then they anxiously told me not to contact them on special occasions such as the Tibetan New Year and other sensitive days,” said the Tibetan.

According to RFA, China rules Tibet with a tight grip, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and expression of cultural and religious identity, especially during festivals like Losar. Tibetans say Chinese authorities trample on their human rights and are trying to stamp out their religious, linguistic and cultural identity.

Chinese security forces are usually deployed in large numbers in Tibetan-populated areas to monitor crowds gathered for religious festivals and to prevent possible protests during Losar.

A London-based non-profit independent think tank Open Forum organised a webinar on January 26 addressing the atrocities that China is making Tibetans go through. In the webinar, Tibet’s activists in exile and campaign groups expressed how “systematically,” and “brazenly” China is crushing Tibet’s identity and culture when the world is busy doing trade with it.

Imagine demolishing the home you built with your own hand. This is the predicament of Tibetans living in the Drago county of the Tibetan province of Kham, ‘known for their strong cultural and religious heritage, according to a ground-breaking report released by the London-based non-profit organization, Free Tibet on 23 January 2023 along with their charitable research arm, Tibet Watch.

Speaking at the webinar about the first-time-ever findings of the Tibet Watch report the policy and research manager of Free Tibet, John Jones, said, “senior monks are summoned to convince people to demolish their own school.

“The forum heard they are threatened with “reprisals,” if they don’t comply. This is not all, those who showed remorse for such destruction were imprisoned. (ANI)

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