News / Asia

Tibetan Exile PM Sends New Year Message of Solidarity

Students take part in a 24 hour hunger strike in Dharamsala, India, to protest Chinese oppression on February 11, the first day of TIbetan New Year (Ivan Broadhead/VOA).
Students take part in a 24 hour hunger strike in Dharamsala, India, to protest Chinese oppression on February 11, the first day of TIbetan New Year (Ivan Broadhead/VOA).
Ivan Broadhead
In the seat of the Tibetan exile government in northern India, this year's festivities for New Year - or Losar - are muted. Leaders are calling for the toned-down celebrations as the number of Tibetan self-immolations nears 100, and Chinese authorities carry out mass arrests of Tibetans for allegedly supporting self-immolation as a form of protest against Beijing’s rule.

Lobsang Sangay, political head of the government-in-exile, says this New Year is a time for reflection. “I ask Tibetans all over the world, including inside Tibet, not to celebrate Tibetan New Year in solidarity with 99 Tibetans who have self-immolated and in condolences to the 83 Tibetans who have died; all those Tibetans who are in prison, and Tibetans inside Tibet who are being repressed,” Sangay said.

Speaking with VOA, Lobsang Sangay says that instead of celebrating the New Year, Tibetans both inside and outside China should assert their identity. “On February 11th, on our New Year’s Day, we will not have festivities. Rather, what we will have is Tibetans wearing traditional dress, going to monastery or Buddhist centers, and praying for all those who have died or continue to suffer inside Tibet,” explained Sangay.

Students take part in 24 hour hunger strike at the Dala Lama’s temple, Dharamsala, India, February 11, 2013 (Ivan Broadhead/VOA).Students take part in 24 hour hunger strike at the Dala Lama’s temple, Dharamsala, India, February 11, 2013 (Ivan Broadhead/VOA).
x
Students take part in 24 hour hunger strike at the Dala Lama’s temple, Dharamsala, India, February 11, 2013 (Ivan Broadhead/VOA).
Students take part in 24 hour hunger strike at the Dala Lama’s temple, Dharamsala, India, February 11, 2013 (Ivan Broadhead/VOA).
​New Year is the one time when increasingly dislocated Tibetan families strive to reunite, says Pema Choedon of the Tibetan Women’s Association. This is the case whether they live inside China-controlled Tibet - where freedom of movement is often restricted at a time of year considered sensitive by Chinese authorities - or in the sprawling Diaspora.

“Normally, this is the biggest festival in Tibetan tradition," said Choedon. "Normally. It is a sign of solidarity that people are not celebrating.”

In the narrow streets of Dharamsala on New Year’s Day, Tibetans have followed Sangay’s request. Monks and nuns are dressed, as ever, in their burgundy robes. The majority of other Tibetans are dressed in traditional long coats called chubas. On Monday, they jostle for space with tourists and visitors also heading to the Dalai Lama’s temple to pray.

The atmosphere might be noticeably more somber this year. But the world should not make the mistake of thinking Tibetans - particularly Tibetan youths - feel any less strongly about their desire for increased autonomy, says Tashi Pasang, a refugee who runs the popular Mandala Café.

“Born as a Tibetan, you have extra responsibility. If you go back 100 years, Tibet was way too isolated. We did not have knowledge about the world. Now our youngsters are very aware. They know social networks, and are ready to challenge any situation. Not just politics - education, anything. There is a big hope that one day we will go back," Pasang noted. "This is our time now.”

The Tibetan exile government known as the Central Tibetan Administration has repeatedly urged Tibetans not to resort to self immolations in protests against Chinese rule.

But Beijing routinely accuses the Dalai Lama and others in exile of inciting the wave of self-immolations inside Tibetan areas of China that have drawn international attention in the past three years. To stop the high-profile suicides, China recently has arrested more than 70 Tibetans on charges of assisting others to set themselves alight. Most arrests have occurred in the western Qinghai province.

Chinese state-backed media also recently accused U.S.-funded broadcasters, including the Voice of America, of encouraging Tibetans to self-immolate. VOA's director has called the allegations “absurd.”

Many in Dharamsala expect a further tightening of security in Tibetan areas of China in the coming weeks, as authorities try to head off protests marking the anniversaries of previous Tibetan uprisings in 1959 (March 10) and 2008 (March 14).

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
February 14, 2013 2:13 PM
I pray the Tibetan Govt-in-Exile abandons the futile quest for autonomy within China b/c the CCP will never agree to it. Tibetans want independence and the TGIE should support that struggle. One party dictatorships don't last more than 70 or so years and the CCP is in its sixth decade. Now is the time to fight for freedom.


by: remie from: canada
February 12, 2013 7:52 AM
@andy D,

If u feel they are bias then don't go to site. At least you can comment negatively. You must be chinese. Your a hyprocrite, PRC is way worst how come you dont talk negatively about them?


by: Andy D. from: LA
February 11, 2013 2:41 PM
VOA = radical propaganda tool; I don't see any difference between North Korea's broadcast and Voice of America; both of them lie and are really biased. VOA, why you hate China so much? It's really disgusting to hear watch your news, it's sad.


by: carin from: usa
February 11, 2013 11:05 AM


May this be the year of freedom for the Tibetan people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid