Tag Archives | Lhasa

‘Wall of steel’ in Tibet with major military drill in buildup to March 10 anniversary

March 5, 2018

On the same day as a major prayer festival in Tibet on March 2 (2018), the Chinese authorities held a major military drill in Lhasa termed as a ‘wall of steel’ in the buildup to the sensitive political anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day, March 10, in 1959. This week is also the tenth anniversary of a wave of overwhelmingly peaceful protests that swept across Tibet from March 10, 2008.

The joint military drill on March 2 (2018) consisted of a mass show of force of ‘combat-ready’ troops from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police (PAP), underlining the heavy militarization of Tibet and the political importance at the highest-levels in China of Tibet’s ‘stability’. In its extreme nature, this massive show of force – which has become an almost annual ritual at this time of year – is also an indicator of CCP anxieties over its authority in Tibet.

The military drills coincided with the mass presence of troops at prayer festivals in monasteries in eastern Tibet, giving the impression of a war zone. Despite the heavy show of force, thousands of Tibetan pilgrims still came to monasteries and religious sites to offer prayers.[1]

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Fears for extent of damage after major fire at sacred Jokhang Temple during Tibetan New Year

February 18, 2018

  • There are fears that a major fire might have damaged the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, one of the holiest and ancient sites in Tibet, on the second day of the Tibetan New Year (Losar). Videos posted online showed flames shooting from the direction of the roof of the seventh-century temple on Saturday (February 17); Tibetans could be heard weeping and praying.
  • Damage may be more widespread than the authorities acknowledge, and reports that communications are being blocked and posts about the fire on social media deleted, consistent with the oppressive political climate in Lhasa. Thousands of pilgrims are currently in Tibet’s capital for New Year.
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Shoton ('Yogurt') Festival

Paramilitary presence at major religious festival in Lhasa

August 7, 2013

There was a strong paramilitary presence at a ceremony unveiling a vast thangka (religious picture) of the Buddha at Drepung monastery, Lhasa, on August 6, 2013 to herald the beginning of the annual Shoton (‘Yogurt’) Festival. These images from Tibet reveal lines of troops standing in front of the Sakyamuni Buddha thangka and around the crowds of Tibetans gathered for the ceremony, which took place during the Shoton (‘Yogurt’) festival from August 6.

The images, circulating among Tibetans on social media, give a glimpse of the strength of the military presence in Lhasa today. Scanners were set up by the authorities at either side of the entrance to Drepung monastery that all devotees had to pass through in order to participate in the thangka unveiling ceremony. Some of the troops among the crowds could be viewed on images in the Chinese state media, but most of these official pictures showed only the crowds and the thangka.

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replica Potala

Multi-million dollar propaganda spectacle opens in a Lhasa under lockdown

July 31, 2013

A multi-million dollar drama about a Chinese princess is being staged in Lhasa from August 1 in a bid by the authorities to increase high-end tourism and assert China’s propaganda message of its ownership of Tibet.

The Princess Wencheng spectacle will be staged with a cast of nearly 600 on a stage nearly 100 metres long, in a fake Potala Palace that faces the real Potala, former home of the Dalai Lama. It will be performed at a time when Lhasa is under military lockdown with snipers visible on rooftops and its citizens subject to intense surveillance and ideological campaigns.

The drama, which will be re-enacted 180 times annually according to the Chinese official media, is a state-scripted narrative in which the Chinese, embodied by Princess Wencheng of the 7th century, ‘civilise’ the Tibetans and bring harmony to Tibet.

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The Old City district of Lhasa.

Destruction of Lhasa revealed in new images

New images detail construction of a large shopping mall with underground parking located in the northeast section of the Barkhor, next to the holy Jokhang Temple within the old city of Lhasa, and destruction of buildings. The demolition and construction depicted in the new images appears to be consistent with the Chinese authorities’ elaborate and […]

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Tibet scholars’ petition to China and UNESCO on destruction of Old Lhasa City

International scholars on Tibetan studies have launched a petition to China and UNESCO expressing “grave concern over the rapidly-progressing destruction of much of the traditional architectural heritage of the Old City of Lhasa and its environs.” The petition, addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bukova, urges them to send “independent investigative […]

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New images emerge of removal of stalls in Barkhor in Lhasa as authorities announce ‘face-lift’

New images have emerged of the removal of some market trading stalls this week from Barkhor street area at the heart of Lhasa, Tibet’s cultural and historical capital. According to a posting on Chinese social media, authorities in Lhasa ordered the removal of some small stalls from outside the Jokhang Temple to Yuthok Lam (Chinese: […]

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Pema Dorjee

Three Tibetans self-immolate in two days during important Buddhist anniversary: images of troops in Lhasa as Tibetans pray

Three Tibetans have self-immolated and died on December 8 and 9 – the time of an important Buddhist anniversary associated with the Dalai Lama. Two of the self-immolations, 24 year old monk Kunchok Pelgye in Dzoege, Ngaba, and 23 year old Pema Dorjee in Luchu, took place near the main assembly halls of monasteries. Seventeen […]

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An armored vehicle rolls down a street in Lhasa.

China: Attempts to Seal Off Tibet From Outside Information

Human Rights Watch has reported that restrictions on news, media, and communications in Tibet have been been stepped up by Chinese authorities in the lead-up to the 18th Party Congress, due to take place in late 2012 (view report). The new restrictions reflect a broader and deeper strategy by the Chinese authorities not only in […]

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China: Arbitrary Expulsions of Tibetans from Lhasa Escalate

Tibetans From Protest Areas Targeted in Unprecedented Lhasa Security Drive (New York, June 20, 2012) – As many as several hundred Tibetans from eastern areas of the Tibetan plateau who live in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), have been arbitrarily expelled from the city as part of a drastic security drive, […]

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An image reportedly of Sunday's self-immolation

Protest by self-immolation spreads to Tibet’s capital

Two young Tibetan men set fire to themselves yesterday (May 27) outside one of Tibet’s holiest shrines, the Jokhang Temple, in the first self-immolation in Lhasa, Tibet’s historic capital. The Chinese state media reported that one of the Tibetans died while another is still alive (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-05/28/content_15403109.htm). Voice of America Tibetan language service has reported that […]

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Tibetans gather in Dzamthang for vigil after self-immolation: Lhasa crackdown deepens in buildup to Tibetan New Year

UPDATE MARCH 5, 2012: It has been confirmed that 18-year old Nangdrol, who set himself on fire on February 19 in Dzamthang county, Ngaba, was a layperson and not a monk as previously reported, according to Tibetan sources. According to Tibetans in the area who are in contact with Tibetans in exile, Nangdrol cared passionately […]

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Military patrols in Lhasa

Authorities prepare ceremony for Olympic torch in Potala Square: fear prevails in Lhasa during crackdown

As the crackdown deepens in Tibet and people continue to ‘disappear’ almost every day in Lhasa, preparations are underway by the authorities for a ceremony known as ‘safeguard the torch and love one’s country’ to be held in the Potala Square to mark the torch’s ascent of Mt. Chomolungma (Everest) in early May. The ceremony, […]

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Monks demonstrating in Lhasa

Authorities acknowledge 4,000 detentions: thousands ‘disappear’ in ongoing Lhasa crackdown; Unrest at Drepung

Raids on people’s houses and ‘disappearances’ are continuing every day during the ongoing crackdown in Lhasa, and there are new fears for monks at Drepung monastery after more troops were deployed following unrest there over the past few days. Details of the incident at Drepung are unclear, although it is known that the unrest followed […]

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Mural of the Dalai Lama

New unrest in Lhasa despite security crackdown

Despite the military crackdown and high levels of fear and intimidation in Lhasa, new unrest broke out today in the Barkhor area of the capital after armed police moved into the area in force. Although full details could not be confirmed, reliable reports indicated that a new protest occurred involving many Tibetans, possibly linked to […]

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Armed troops gather at Drepung

New images confirm security buildup at Drepung on day Dalai Lama awarded the Congressional Gold Medal

New images just received from Tibet show troops gathered outside Drepung monastery in Lhasa in a show of force after monks whitewashed a wall to commemorate the Dalai Lama being honored with the Congressional Gold Medal on October 17 in Washington, DC. Drepung monastery was sealed off and surrounded by armed troops after police stopped […]

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Celebrations at the Barkhor

Crackdown on celebrations in Tibet as Dalai Lama receives Gold Medal award in week of Party Congress

Tibetans in Tibet celebrated the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama last Wednesday despite a stepping up of security and severe restrictions on religious practice in Lhasa and areas of eastern Tibet. One of the major monasteries in Lhasa, Drepung, is sealed off and surrounded by armed troops after police stopped […]

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On This Spot: Lhasa – A map with a message

The International Campaign for Tibet’s map, On This Spot – Lhasa, is an up-to-date and comprehensive travel map of Tibet’s capital city, Lhasa. With its inclusive approach to controversial and politically sensitive sites, it is also the most unconventional map of Lhasa to date. On This Spot captures the rapidly changing face of Lhasa that […]

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