Tibetans Display Dalai Lama Photos

Local Tibetans defy Chinese restrictions on pictures of their exiled spiritual leader.

2012-09-04
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hhdl-motorbike-305 A Tibetan man, whose face has been blurred to conceal his identity, displays a photo of the Dalai Lama on his motorbike, Sept. 1, 2012.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener

In a major show of defiance, Tibetans celebrating the enthronement of a local religious leader at the weekend paraded large photographs of the Dalai Lama in a restive Tibetan county in China’s Sichuan province, Tibetan sources said.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet into exile in 1959 amid a failed national uprising against Chinese rule, is regarded by Chinese authorities as a dangerous separatist, and possession of his pictures often brings harsh punishment to those who display them.

“On Sept. 1, an enthronement  ceremony for the tulku [reincarnation] of Dudul Lingpa was organized at Changkar monastery in the Lingkha Shi subdivision of Bathang county in Kardze (in Chinese Ganzi) prefecture,” a Tibetan resident of the area told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Several thousand Tibetans, many on motorbikes, took part in the ceremony to welcome the young lama, the source said, adding, “Many displayed huge photos of the Dalai Lama on their motorbikes and paraded in the ceremony.”

Among the photographs taken of the parade and sent to RFA, one picture shows a car carrying the banned Tibetan national flag on its hood.

A Sept. 4 report by the online Tibet Express noted that though the residents of Lingkha Shi live in Bathang county, they are also close to Kardze town, the site of repeated Tibetan protests challenging Chinese rule.

In Lingkha Shi itself, over 20 Tibetans were detained in 2009 for protesting Chinese mining in the area, with one, Tsultrim Choephel, beaten to death by police, Tibet Express said, citing sources in the region.

And on April 19, a monk named Petruk, 23, was detained by police and killed while in custody, Tibet Express said.

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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