Tibetans in Xiahe, China Say No New Year Celebrations(video)
Time：2013-02-13 11:18:47 Resource：ntdtv Author：
On Monday, the start of the Tibetan Lunar New Year, Tibetans in China’s northwest region of Xiahe say there would be no celebrations this New Year. Many say celebrating is inappropriate with so many recent self-immolations.
Xiahe County in Gansu Province has a high population of ethnic Tibetans and is the home of Labrang Monastery, one of the main spiritual centers in Tibetan Buddhism. At least 20 people have set themselves on fire in the last year in this region alone.
The beginning of the Tibetan New Year is usually a time of celebration, but most Tibetans in Xiahe tell Reuters there would be no entertainment this year. Tibetans traditionally don’t celebrate while in mourning.
Tibetan Buddhist followers were seen prostrating themselves and spinning prayer wheels on Monday just like a normal day. Many monks at the temple were asked for an interview, but even when their identities would be protected they refused, fearing repercussions from the authorities.
Roadblocks were set up to stop outsiders coming into Xiahe, and riot police vehicles were seen on the outskirts of town.
Almost 100 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 in protest against communist rule. Chinese authorities blame the Nobel Prize winning Dalai Lama for inciting the burnings. The Dalai Lama says he does not encourage the self-immolations, but calls them (quote), “understandable”.