Tuesday, October 23, 2007

‘Terror and celebration’ in Lhasa as Dalai Lama receives Gold Medal award

International Campaign for Tibet
October 23rd, 2007

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 an attempt by monks to peacefully mark the honor to the Dalai Lama last week. Another significant monastery in the city, Nechung, is also apparently closed. Tibetan sources report a buildup of armed police in the city, checkpoints on roads out of Lhasa, and an order to Lhasa citizens not to carry out any religious or celebratory activities.

Several Tibetans were detained temporarily and are now said to have been released after celebrations with fireworks and prayers were held at Labrang (Chinese: Xiahe in Gansu province) monastery in the Tibetan area of Amdo (see images below). Armed police stopped fireworks being set off and surrounded the monastery with armed troops. According to eyewitness reports, police clashed with monks and laypeople and there may have been some injuries.

According to other reports, internet bars were closed in some areas, and two well-known Tibetan websites, focusing on Tibetan language and literature, were closed down – one of them on the day the 17th Party Congress opened in Beijing (October 15)...

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