Tibetans defy authorities to honour exiled leader
Widespread celebrations were held throughout Tibet on 21 June as the Dalai Lama turned 80 according to the Tibetan lunar calendar. A selection of the many photographs of the celebrations which have appeared on Tibetan social media are below. The spiritual leader's official birthday by the international Gregorian calendar will be on the 6 July. Chinese military and police forces had performed numerous raids, arrests and crackdowns recently in anticipation of celebrations for the Dalai Lama’s birthday. At the time of writing, however, we are aware of no significant activity by the authorities to prevent the events that took place at the weekend.
A banned celebration
Celebrations of the Dalai Lama's birthday are banned in Tibet and observances of his birthday in the past have been violently repressed. Displaying the Dalai Lama's image is also banned in Tibet, although many Tibetans keep them in secret. Despite these policies, celebrations took place across Tibet, including in Lhasa, Tibet’s heavily monitored and controlled capital (see picture in slideshow below of a crowd gathered around pole with lines of prayer flags radiating out).
UK Government says Dalai Lama to appear at Glastonbury festival
The Dalai Lama continues to travel around the world and will be celebrating his birthday in the USA this year. During last week’s Westminster debate concerning the UK’s stance on Tibet, a government minister stated that the Dalai Lama is expected to make an appearance at the Glastonbury Music Festival this weekend. He will also give a talk in Aldershot on Monday. Free Tibet will be attending Glastonbury this year to seek support and spread awareness about Tibetan issues. If you're going, look for our tent near the Stone Circle and come say hello! Photos of the celebrations:
These photos can also be found on our Flickr.
China promises "dire consequences" if political leaders host the Dalai Lama, threatening impacts on diplomatic relations and trade. In allowing themselves to be bullied by Beijing, governments are allowing an undemocratic regime which routinely abuses human rights to dictate policy to them. They are also turning their backs on the Dalai Lama's standing as a representative of peace, and on the hopes of the Tibetan people. Find out whether the Dalai Lama will be visiting your country and join our campaign and ask your leaders to meet with him.