Tag Archives | Losar

Inside Tibet: Tibetan New Year marked by security agenda; mass deployment of troops for prayer festival

March 7, 2017

The Chinese authorities used the Tibetan New Year (Losar) period last week, traditionally marked by devotional ceremonies, to focus on the security agenda of the Party state and warn of a continuing harsh fight against ‘separatism’, a politically charged term used to blame the Dalai Lama.

There was a major and intimidating deployment of military force at a prayer ceremony at Kumbum monastery, while in Lhasa regional leaders hosted a series of meetings in which monks and nuns were warned about the need to comply with Party policy, and – evidence of the strong Party and police presence in religious institutions – official delegations inspected ‘armed forces’ and cadres at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.

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US Tibet Coordinator Sarah Sewall Hosts Tibetan Losar reception at the State Department

February 23, 2016

On February 18, 2016, the State Department hosted a reception to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan New Year, to an invited gathering of Tibetan Americans, diplomats, State Department officials, Congressional staffers and other dignitaries, including the Representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama to the Americas. The first day of Losar fell on February 9 this year.

The program began with prayers by Shingza Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist master. Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall, who is also the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, welcomed everyone saying, “Losar Tashi Delek.”

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State Department

US Government celebrates for the first time Losar, the Tibetan New Year, in recognition of Tibetan culture and identity

February 23, 2015

On February 23, 2015, the State Department hosted a reception to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan New Year, to an invited gathering of Tibetan Americans, diplomats, State Department officials and other dignitaries. The first day of Losar fell on February 19 this year.

“This is the first time that such an event has been organized by the State Department and it can be seen as a recognition of Tibetan American culture and its contribution to American society. We are pleased to see the US Government taking this initiative,” said Bhuchung Tsering, Vice President of the International Campaign for Tibet.

Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall, who is also the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, welcomed everyone and shared her experience of interacting with the Tibetan community during her trip to India and Nepal last year and being able to see the different aspects of Tibetan culture then. She put Losar in the context of a Tibetan American culture.

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An image of the Dalai Lama is boldly displayed

Images from Tibet on the first day of Losar

February 20, 2015

Images of Tibetans celebrating Losar, Tibetan New Year, despite intensified security, emerged from across Tibet today. Losar this year is significant, particularly in the Tibetan area of Amdo, because it is the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday on July 6, according to the Western calendar.

A photograph from Ngaba showed Tibetans in a bold celebration offering khatags (white blessing scarves) to an image of the Dalai Lama at a shrine bearing the words ‘Welcome to the 80th birthday of His Holiness’. According to tradition in the Tibetan area of Amdo, 80th birthday celebrations are particularly important.

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Troops

The crackdown in Tibet under Xi: the March anniversaries and Tibetan New Year as Xi Jinping marks a year in power

March 18, 2014

  • During the sensitive period of the March 10 anniversary of the 1959 uprising and 2008 protests, security was intensified with massive military deployment in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas in ‘emergency stability maintenance’ drills.
  • Devices to grab self-immolators were showcased by paramilitary troops in a display of fire-power intended to be intimidating during a period which is a somber reminder to Tibetans of more than 50 years of oppression.
  • Two Tibetan monks set fire to themselves on March 16, the anniversary of the killing of unarmed protestors in 2008 in Ngaba.
  • Troop deployment was particularly intimidating and visible at prayer ceremonies in eastern Tibetan areas in the buildup to Tibetan New Year (Losar), which fell this year on March 2, just a week before the March 10 anniversary.
  • At the same time, Tibetans are seeking to counter the oppressive measures and in one new development, made appeals to local leaders against the heavy deployment of troops in monasteries and at religious gatherings, and expressed their distress about the disappearances of Tibetans and torture of Tibetans in custody, with some parents submitting letters about the disappearance of their children.
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Two Tibetans self-immolate at monasteries during prayer ceremonies in Amdo

Tsesung Kyab, a Tibetan farmer and nomad in his late twenties, set himself ablaze on February 25 outside the main temple of Shitsang Gonsar monastery in Luchu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, eastern Tibet’s Amdo region. Tsesung Kyab’s self-immolation is the sixth self-immolation in Luchu County. Phagmo Dundrup, a Tibetan farmer in […]

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Lockdown in Lhasa at Tibetan New Year; unprecedented detentions of hundreds of Tibetans after Dalai Lama teaching in exile

There is an intensified climate of fear in Lhasa on the eve of Tibetan New Year (Losar) and in the buildup to March 10, the anniversary of the 1959 Tibet Uprising and the start of protests that swept across the plateau in 2008. In an indication that a deepening crackdown and anti-Dalai Lama campaign has […]

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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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Hundreds of police in riot gear gathered around key Tibetan centers

Nepal police crackdown on March 10 commemoration in Kathmandu

Nepalese riot police used “undue force” according to observers in Kathmandu yesterday (March 10) as Tibetans gathered to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of National Uprising Day. Hundreds of police in riot gear gathered around key Tibetan centers such as monasteries and schools in order to prevent Tibetans attending the anniversary event, held at Samtenling monastery […]

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Resurgence of Tibetan New Year celebrations despite March 10 security build-up

Many Tibetans in Tibet boldly marked Tibetan New Year (Losar) at the March 5-6 weekend, in preference to Chinese New Year, despite official restrictions and an entrenched security presence. There is evidence that in some Tibetan areas Tibetans have begun to mark Losar again with more vigor as an expression of their cultural identity, despite […]

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Tibetans celebrate Dalai Lama meeting with President Obama despite crackdown

In a second day of celebration, on February 18, Tibetans defied intense security by chanting prayers and setting off fireworks in the Amdo area of Tibet, where the Dalai Lama was born, marking his meeting with President Obama that day. In the Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) area of Sichuan province (within the Tibetan area of Amdo), […]

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Tension in Tibet as Tibetans mark New Year with prayers for the dead

Several hundred Tibetan monks and laypeople in the far eastern Tibetan area of Ngaba (Sichuan province) were surrounded by armed troops yesterday on the first of the five-day Tibetan New Year festival (Losar). The Tibetans had gathered together to pray for those killed in the crackdown following protests across Tibet that began in March 2008. […]

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burning pelts

New images of burning of wild animal pelts in dramatic act of dissent

New images received from Tibet depict thousands of dollars worth of wild animal pelts being burned in the Tibetan area of Amdo, eastern Tibet, in a dramatic assertion of Tibetan identity at the height of the current crackdown on dissent. The photographs were taken in February 2009, during Tibetan New Year, at a time when […]

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Amdo monks taken for ‘study’ after peaceful protest

More than a hundred monks who held a peaceful candlelit vigil on the first day of Tibetan New Year (February 25) have been taken from their monastery, Lutsang, in Mangra county (Chinese: Guinan) in Qinghai (the Tibetan area of Amdo), for ‘study’ at an unknown location. According to a Tibetan source in exile with connections […]

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Detentions after peaceful protest in Kham; Tibetans resist government pressure to celebrate Losar

Two young Tibetan women were detained on Thursday (March 5) in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), a Tibetan area of Sichuan province (Kham) following a protest, in an atmosphere of increasing tension in the area. The two women, a nun and layperson, staged separate protests in Kardze town, handing out leaflets and calling for the return of […]

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Authorities surround monastery; issue 48 hour ultimatum for organizers to “surrender” after latest protest in Tibet

Around 100 monks staged a candle-lit vigil and protest outside the government headquarters in Mangra (Chinese: Guinan) county, Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in Qinghai on Wednesday, the first day of Tibetan New Year (Losar), according to reports and images received by the Tibetan language service of Radio Free Asia. The images depict monks […]

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Losar in Nepal

Tibetans in Nepal pressured to not hold public new year celebration

Departing from their traditional celebration of new year, Tibetans in Kathmandu today did not conduct their religious ceremonies at the Boudha stupa in Boudhanath, Kathmandu. After repeated warnings from Nepalese police, the Dalai Lama’s Representative in Nepal, Wangchuk Tsering, opted not to hold any official ceremony on the steps of the Boudha Stupa but rather […]

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