Two Tibetans Arrested For Celebrating Dalai Lama’s Birthday

Displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo and celebrations of his birthday are harshly punished in Tibetan areas of China.
2021-07-13
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Two Tibetans Arrested For Celebrating Dalai Lama’s Birthday Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets well-wishers in a virtual message on his birthday, July 6, 2021.
Central Tibetan Administration

Chinese officials in a Tibetan-populated region of Sichuan have arrested two Tibetans for celebrating the 86th birthday this month of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Tibetan sources say.

The pair, a man named Kunchok Tashi and a woman named Dzapo, both in their 40s, were taken into custody in Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Kyaglung town, said Golog Jigme, a former political prisoner now living in Switzerland.

”They were arrested on suspicion of being part of a group on social media that shared images and documents, and encouraged the reciting of Tibetan prayers on the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Golog Jigme said, citing sources in the region.

No details were immediately available on the date of the pair's arrest or where they are currently being held.

Another 20 to 30 Tibetans were also arrested this year for celebrating the Dalai Lama’s July 6 birthday, “but due to strict restrictions on communications in the region, nothing more is known about their names or where [they were arrested],” Golog Jigme said.

“However, they were all arrested sometime around His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday,” he said.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet into exile in India in the midst of a failed 1959 Tibetan national uprising against rule by China, which marched into the formerly independent Himalayan country in 1950.

Displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo, public celebrations of his birthday, and the sharing of his teachings on mobile phones or other social media are often harshly punished.

Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on Tibet and on Tibetan-populated regions of western China, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and peaceful expression of cultural and religious identity, and subjecting Tibetans to imprisonment, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

Reported by Lobe for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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