The flag was flown in protest during a cultural festival in Ngaba
On 12 July, a Tibetan flag was hung on a building in "Heroes Street" in Ngaba. It was seen during a major cultural festival that was taking place in Ngaba between 11 and 13 July.
The owner of the flag is unknown. In occupied Tibet, hanging a Tibetan flag publicly or possessing one can lead to arrest and torture.
The appellation "Heroes Street" refers to the high number of protests, including self-immolation protests and solo protests, that have taken place in that street.
The Ngaba festival was supported by the Chinese government and designed by local people in accordance with official instructions.
It was the first time this festival was organised since the 2008 Tibetan Uprising. Even though the authorities gave their authorisation to renew the festival this year, visitors were highly monitored. The security was very tight in and around the festival venue, and for the population in the surrounding area.
Even though the Chinese government authorises cultural events, Tibetans have accused the authorities of using them, and their culture, for propaganda purposes.
Indeed, hosting cultural or religious festivals in different areas in Tibet, including the Ngaba festival, provides authorities with an opportunity to show the so-called development taking place in Tibet and Tibetans’ happiness to the outside world.
Evidence of this propaganda has been noticed during a government sponsored summer festival in Tso City, in Kanlho, which is governed as part of China’s Gansu Province. Photos of the event, that started on 17 July, show Tibetan horsemen carrying Chinese national flags and demonstrating their loyalty to China during the festival.
According to one local Tibetan:
There are a number of people who are critics of the Chinese government oriented festival and blaming the Tibetan participants, calling them Chinese stooges and money-hungry. Yet another group of Tibetans are appreciating it.
Another Tibetan who shared the image on social media wrote of the festival:
The leaders sitting there are money. Are you happy to carry the Chinese flags? Shameless and immodest China-loving people! Praise to you!
The Chinese government is threatening Tibetan culture. Religious freedom is not respected by Chinese authorities in Tibet.
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