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Tibetans celebrate Dalai Lama birthday in Tibet despite intensified surveillance and military presence

Tibetans in Tawu, Sichuan, celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday in the grasslandsTibetans in Tawu, Sichuan, celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday in the grasslands

Tibet, Jul.14.─ Tibetans across Tibet celebrated the Dalai Lama’s 79th birthday last week despite tightened security restrictions including a ban on large gatherings and an intensified deployment of troops in some areas. The Dalai Lama marked his birthday in exile in Ladakh, India, teaching a major religious empowerment, the Kalachakra.

Images and footage from the eastern Tibetan areas of Amdo and Kham depict large pictures of the Dalai Lama displayed during picnics in the grasslands, horse races, hoisting of prayer flags on sacred mountains and burning of incense. Tibetan songs in honor of the Dalai Lama were uploaded onto YouTube, and poems posted on Tibetan blogs.

Social networking services were also blocked in some areas of Tibet, possibly with the intention of preventing Tibetans from hearing news about the Kalachakra and the teachings.

A video circulating on social media showed large plumes of incense smoke arising from a monastery and homes in Tawu (Chinese: Dawu/Daofu), Sichuan, on July 6, the Dalai Lama’s birthday; whoops and cries of celebration can be heard from all directions. Last year in Tawu, the Tibetan area of Kham, police opened fire at a crowd who were peacefully gathered to celebrate the birthday, shooting two monks.

Despite the intimidating presence of armed troops, monks, nuns and lay Tibetans in areas including Amchok (in Sangchu, Chinese: Xiahe, Gansu); , Labrang Tashikyil monastery (also Sangchu), Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan, Gansu), Tawu, Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi, Sichuan), Lithang (Chinese: Litang, Sichuan); Draggo (Chinese: Luhuo, Sichuan) in Kardze, Golog (Chinese: Guoluo, Qinghai) and Kumbum (Qinghai), marked the birthday on Sunday (July 6) ...

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