Chinese authorities in the Tibetan capital have announced the cancellation of all activities connected to the annual “Shoton” festival, citing the risk posed by the surge in COVID-19 cases in China.

Shoton, or the “Yogurt festival,” which was to begin on Aug. 8, 2021, is among the major religious-cultural festivals in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. It includes monastic ceremony with a “thangka” (Tibetan religious painting) display, as well as Tibetan opera performances.

In a circular dated Aug. 5, 2021, the Lhasa city task force to combat the pandemic said on account of the surge in COVID cases in 17 Chinese provinces and cities, all public-gathering events of the Shoton festival are being halted.

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