Chinese authorities have ordered all Tibetan pilgrims who have travelled to Bodh Gaya to attend the ongoing teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India, and Nepal to return immediately.
In a public order issued earlier this month, local government of Sichuan province instructed Tibetans living in the region to return by certain deadlines, failing which “they would face consequences”.
Verifying the issuance of the recall order, a reliable source said that those who have been called back were largely Tibetans from Kham and Amdo regions that are incorporated into China’s Sichuan Province.
According to the source, more than two thousand Tibetans, including many elderly, from Tibet have arrived in Bodh Gaya, where His Holiness Dalai Lama has been holding a series of religious teachings. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teaching began on 5 January and the programme is scheduled to conclude later this week. Chinese authorities have summoned Tibetans back to Tibet in midway of the teachings despite issuing them Chinese passports quite recently. Additionally, “many of the Tibetan passports that were confiscated earlier, in 2011-2012, in these regions were returned after the authorities ran through the family records and didn’t find any issue,” explained the source. However, the Tibetans who have come to India and Nepal were told to return from the ongoing teachings.
Radio Free Asia reported that the local government in Tawu county required all Tibetans from the area to return within four days of the notice issued on 12 January while Lithang authorities set the deadline as 19 January.
China made similar orders last year in January when thousands of Tibetans attending the Kalachakra teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya were told to return. Upon return, the Tibetans faced confiscation of their passports (a few were even torn and destroyed) amid the ban imposed by the Chinese government in participating in the major Buddhist event.
The Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, are two major Tibetan areas that comes under the jurisdiction of Sichuan Province. Since 2009, 151 Tibetans self-immolated in Tibet demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Nearly 40 percent of these fiery protests took place in Ngaba and Kardze Prefectures.
– Report filed by EU/UN and HR desk, DIIR –