January 15, 2019
As authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region emphasized their “clear-cut” stance against the Dalai Lama at meetings of the Region’s Party Congress last week, news emerged from eastern Tibet that Tibetans are being told to prostrate and make offerings to pictures of Xi Jinping.
TAR Chairman Che Dalha announced in his work report to the regional Party Congress that oppressive measures had been heightened, saying: “Tibet has firmly curbed and cracked down on secession, infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces [a political term encompassing the Dalai Lama and Tibet supporters] at home and abroad.”
Amid other signs of an intensified campaign against the Dalai Lama, in the eastern Tibetan area of Serthar county in Sichuan, Tibetans who receive official “poverty alleviation” subsidies from the government have been ordered to remove images of the Dalai Lama from their homes and to destroy their altars, according to information from former political prisoner Golok Jigme. Some families are even being compelled to display images of China’s leader Xi Jinping in their homes, and to prostrate and make offerings.
Another source told the International Campaign for Tibet that new housing provided for Tibetans relocated in settlements in Kham were already equipped with small altars – not with Buddhist icons, but with images of Chinese Party leaders.