Dharamshala: Tibetans Buddhists around the world observed a major annual religious festival, Ganden Ngamchoe (Tib: དགའ་ལྡན་ལྔ་མཆོད་) last week. However, Tibetans in the traditional capital Lhasa saw an extraordinary police presence and surveillance, mainly at Tsuglakhang and Barkhor areas on the day.
Two short video clips, one taken in front of Tsuglakhang and the other on Barkhor street, show police officials lined on both sides of the street keeping a close watch over a large group of Tibetans circumambulating the holy sites. A police drone is also seen flying in the Tsuglakhang video, monitoring the religious procession.
Other than the video clips, further details are not known owing to China’s acute stringent censorship.
Gaden Ngamchoe is the annual festival to commemorate the passing away of the founder of the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, Je Tsongkhapa, a highly-revered 14th century saint and scholar. It is observed on the 25th of 10th month according to Tibetan calendar with displays of butter lamps, candles and prayers. This year, Ganden Ngamchoe fell on 10 December, coinciding with Tibetans celebrating the 31st anniversary of conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Chinese authorities in Tibet continues to repress the religious freedom of the Tibetan people. Last year, a Chinese government notice banned students, government employees, and retired elderly Tibetans from taking part in Tibetan religious festivals.
– Filed by UN, EU & Human Rights Desk, DIIR