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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China orders Tibet to celebrate New Year

February 25, 2009

China has told Tibetans they must hold New Year celebrations after
activists called for a boycott in a sign of support for the Dalai Lama.

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
The Telegraph, UK
Last Updated: 6:02PM GMT 24 Feb 2009
Losar, Tibetan New Year celebrations: China orders Tibet told to
celebrate New Year

Losar, or Tibetan New Year, falls on Wednesday and is usually an
occasion for feasting and communal celebration. This year, however, a
growing number of Tibetans have decided to boycott the party as a silent

Tenzin Taklha, a spokesman for the Dalai Lama said: "Usually it's a day
of festivity and gaiety when everyone gets together. But this year it's
going to be observed as a day of prayer in memory of all the Tibetans
who died and all those who are still suffering under Chinese rule."

Many living overseas have already cancelled their parties, but Chinese
authorities have told Tibetans at home to celebrate.

Officials have handed out 800 yuan (£80) each to nearly 70,000 poor
Tibetans "to enable people in difficulty to enjoy a happy and auspicious
Tibetan New Year," according to a government website.

A four-hour-long television gala has also been organised and Ma Zhaoxu,
a foreign ministry spokesman, said: "Tibetans will go ahead with

Tensions are already high in the region, and China has closed off Tibet
to all foreigners, creating a news blackout. Last weekend, 24 people
were arrested in Tibetan areas of Sichuan, while Chinese police said
they had discovered several pounds of explosives under a bridge in the
east of Tibet.

In Kangding, a heavily Tibetan town in neighbouring Sichuan, hundreds of
anti-riot police were seen drilling in barracks on the outskirts of the
town, wearing protective clothing and carrying batons and guns.

March 10 marks the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's exile from
Tibet, and fears are growing that the events of last March, when riots
broke out across Tibet, could repeat themselves.
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