China detains Tibetan pilgrims

22nd March 2018

Chinese authorities have detained Tibetan pilgrims who visited spiritual sites in Nepal and India

Tibetans from the Lhagong area in Datsedo county, Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, have had their passports confiscated and have been detained after returning from their pilgrimage to sacred sites in Nepal and India. The 60 people who have been detained are believed to be undergoing a re-education program, have been subjected to beatings by the authorities and may have to face penalties including imprisonment.

In mid-January 2018, Chinese authorities ordered that any Tibetans who were on pilgrimages to see the Dalai Lama teaching in Bodh Gaya must return within a given deadline. Typically thousands of Tibetan devotees travel from Tibet to attend these teaching sessions.

The Tibetans who have been detained had obtained their visas and passports from the Chinese government legally and have only used them to visit Buddhist holy sites.

A similar incident occurred in 2017 when Chinese officials confiscated passports and detained around 70 Tibetans from Lhagong after they returned from their pilgrimage where they were suspected of attending the Kalachakra ceremony with the Dalai Lama.

Tibetans regularly have their ability to practice their faith restricted. Recently, in Lhagong and Dartsedo, Chinese authorities stopped the local Tibetans from engraving mani and Buddhist scriptures on stones around the roadsides. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities are implementing severe restrictions on Tibetans who want to show their devotion by walking to Lhasa, fining them 3000 yuan per day. Chinese authorities have even detained several of these devotees and taken them into custody.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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