fredag 19. februar 2021

Gatherings Banned in Tibetan Areas of China During Lunar New Year

Authorities in Tibetan areas of China are restricting travel and public gatherings during the Lunar New Year period, called Losar in Tibetan, with punishments threatened for those violating the bans, Tibetan sources say. Falling this year on Feb. 12, the first three days of the New Year are usually packed with festivals and religious ceremonies, with most Tibetan Buddhists in Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa visiting temples during the holiday.

Major religious sites in Lhasa including the Potala Palace and Drepung and Sera monasteries are now shuttered, though, with authorities citing coronavirus concerns as the reason they were closed, sources in Lhasa say. “I wanted to celebrate Losar openly,” one Lhasa resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But then due to harassment and restrictions put in place by the Chinese authorities, I don’t feel like celebrating at all.”

Traditional Losar activities such as horse racing and other cultural activities have also been banned by Chinese authorities, a resident of Tibet’s Chamdo prefecture said, adding, “We are not even allowed to hold small gatherings indoors.”