Tibetans told to perform in expensive costumes to show “economic prosperity”
Authorities in Nangchen County, Yushu Prefecture, ordered 10 Tibetan townships to prepare for a summer cultural show, wearing “traditional expensive costumes” to show economic prosperity.
Police threaten Tibetans
The preparations were to take place between 1 and 3 August. On the third day four police vehicles arrived with armed police, who threatened the people organising the event. After the event took place, for unknown reasons police started to violently beat the Tibetans, injuring over 30 people. Many of the victims required to be hospitalised after the assault.
Tibetan livelihood threatened if not happy
In Driru County in another part of Tibet, local authorities have imposed a new policy with various conditions that must be fulfilled in order for Tibetans to harvest caterpillar fungus (Yartsa Gunbo, valued highly as herbal remedy) a main source of income for the locals.
The policy demanded that locals should organise and take part in a cultural show. It also required them to wear traditional costumes made out of animal pelts and instructed those not performing to attend the event. Officials brought the animal pelt costumes with them and forced Tibetans to wear them during their performances on stage. Many Tibetans stopped wearing animal pelts after an appeal by the Dalai Lama in 2006; Tibetans inside Tibet burnt their furs. Since then there has been a marked decrease in Tibetans wearing animal skins. The policy states that any Tibetans not taking part will be punished by not being able to harvest the fungus for 5 years. A Driru resident said “The performance of dance and songs are not an expression of our joy and happiness of the seasons, rather it is a forceful imposition by the Chinese government which portrays the absence of any freedom and rights”.
Since 1959, Tibetans have continued to take great risks to resist China's oppression. Yet increasingly, world leaders fail to stand up to China and speak out for Tibetans' rights. Please use this page to contact your foreign ministry and press them to issue a statement condemning China's repression and supporting Tibetans' right to self-determination.