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2nd March 2012

Tibetans forced to celebrate Losar February 22 marked the beginning of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. Many Tibetans decided not to partake in the traditional New Year celebrations in honour of those who have self-immolated or been killed in protest in Tibet over the past year.

Forced celebrations

The Chinese Communist Party responded in Lhasa by banning the boycotts, therefore enforcing what are described as ‘mandatory celebrations’ – forcing people to attend dances and set off fireworks. The authorities threatened to cut relief or welfare to people who did not celebrate and accused them of being splittists, the consequences of which is very serious. Some of those who were detained while returning from the Kalachakra in India were allowed out for the week to participate the ‘festivities.’

Patriotic re-education

Chinese officials declared the Losar party over on 28 February and the Tibetans had to return to their places of detention to continue their patriotic re-education. In addition to this treatment, it is reported that the detainees are being charged to cover the cost of their own detention. Most people are still being denied any contact with the outside world and have been told that they will be held until April.

What you can do

Contact your nearest Chinese embassy asking for an immediate end to the use of disproportionate force and detention in Tibet.