DHARAMSHALA: The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile has condemned the Chinese police firing on Tibetans celebrating the birthday of their supreme spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Tawu region in eastern Tibet on 6 July.
Despite severe restrictions imposed by the Chinese government, Tibetans celebrated the 78th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in different Tibetan areas incorporated to into China’s Sichuan and Qinghai provinces, such as Tawu, Karze, and Drakgo in Sichuan, and Golok, Tawo, Labrang, Chabcha, and Kumbum in Qinghai.
In Tawu, hundreds of local Tibetans joined monks of Nyisto monastery and nuns of Geden nunnery for a grand prayer ceremony on Machen Pomra, a sacred hill in their region, to celebrate the auspicious day. A large number of Chinese armed police arrived there to disrupt the prayer service. The Tibetans told the police that it is their tradition to hold such prayer ceremony. But the police opened fire on them and pelted stones on a car, which left several Tibetans severely injured. Those injured include Jangchup Dorjee, brother of Palden Choetso, the nun of Geden Choeling nunnery who self-immolated in November 2011; Tsering Dhondup and Tashi, monks of Nyitso monastery; Urgyen Tashi from Dakchu town; Nyendak from Mikya town and Tashi from Geden Choeling nunnery. Tashi Sonam sustained fatal head wound, while Urgyen Tashi is in critical condition in a hospital in Chengdu.
The day also witnessed grand celebrations at the main monastery in Lithang and Karze. Defying threats from the local authorities, the general public offered prayers in front of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s portrait at Lithang monastery and displayed a huge banner emblazoned with “Celebration of the 78th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Nobel Peace Laureate”. Meanwhile, over 2,000 Tibetans took part in a grand incense offering ceremony and prayer service for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the main monastery in Karze.
The Tibetan community in Tawo village in Golok inaugurated a large temple of Guru Rinpoche to mark His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday.
“Celebrating the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is a Nobel peace laureate and the supreme spiritual leader of Tibetans, has nothing to do with politics,” the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said in a statement.
“Moreover, celebrating birthday is a quintessential part of the culture followed by people across the world. The indiscriminate firing by Chinese police on Tibetans holding prayer services to mark His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday is an extremely brutal and inhuman act. We strongly urge the peace and truth loving governments to condemn such human rights violations committed by the Chinese government in Tibet,” the statement noted.