Tibetans urged not to celebrate New Year

February 20th, 2012 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Feb 20 (IANS) Tibetan prime minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay Monday asked his emigre community to only follow the spiritual rituals and shun celebrations of Losar - the Tibetan New Year which begins Wednesday - to express solidarity with the sufferings of the people in Tibet.

“As requested, please do not celebrate Losar this year, but do observe traditional and spiritual rituals by going to the monastery, making offerings, and lighting butter lamps for all those Tibetans inside Tibet who have sacrificed and suffered under the repressive policies of the Chinese government,” Sangay said in a statement.

According to the Tibetan lunar calendar, Losar is the first day of the New Year. Traditionally, it is celebrated in a big way.

“News from Tibet continues to be grim. Tibet is virtually sealed off with foreigners not allowed to enter. Even Chinese tourists are prevented from visiting Tibet, and the military buildup is very heavy,” Sangay said.

Fearing further security build up in Tibet with the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising coming up, he said: “March 10, our National Uprising Day, is coming up soon. There will be many other activities as well… participate in events peacefully, legally and with dignity.”

“I want to say to our dear brothers and sisters inside Tibet that you are in our hearts and prayers every day,” said Sangay, who has never visited the land of his ancesters.

The Tibetan parliament-in-exile, based here, has already urged Tibetans living in exile across the world to shun the New Year celebrations.

“Members of the Tibetan parliament, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and others will observe a daylong fast here on February 22 to express solidarity with people in Tibet,” Parliament Speaker Penpa Tsering said.

The government-in-exile said over 20 people have set themselves on fire in Tibet since last March in protest China’s policies, while calling for Tibet’s freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland.

India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans and the Tibetan government-in-exile, which has never won recognition from any country.

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