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Tibetans celebrate Dalai Lama meeting with President Obama despite crackdown

February 21, 2010

ICT report
February 19, 2010

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), monks
and laypeople gathered to pray for the long life
of the Dalai Lama and make offerings, according
to Tibetan exile sources with contacts in the
area. The sources said that the atmosphere was
celebratory, compared to the commemoration of the
first day of Tibetan New Year (Losar) on Sunday,
February 14, when security in the area was
stepped up after Tibetans prayed for those killed
in demonstrations across Tibet beginning in March

The Tibetan source said: "It was a completely
different atmosphere to the solemnity of Losar,
when people were remembering the dead. People
started letting off fire-crackers at around 8-9
pm. In villages and towns in the area, Tibetan
families were praying and burning tsampa (roasted
barley flour), a traditional offering. Some
people traveled to Kirti monastery to celebrate
with the monks, who chanted long life prayers for His Holiness."

The same source said that while security appeared
to be stepped up in an area already under
crackdown, there were no detentions. He said:
“The purpose of the ceremony was to mark the
meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and
President Barack Obama in the hopes that it will
bring a productive outcome for Tibet¹s future. We
are very happy about the meeting and we are
praying and making offerings to ensure there is
justice and truth for this cause.”

On the eve of the White House meeting, Buddhist
monks in the town of Rebgong (Chinese: Tongren),
Malho (Chinese: Huangnan) Tibetan autonomous
prefecture, Qinghai province, held a ceremony at
their monastery, while laypeople marked the event
by setting off fireworks. (Footage by Reuters at

Celebrations appear to have taken place in Lhasa,
too, but took a more muted, religious form with
particular offerings being given. Tibetans made
offerings of traditional homemade wine at the
Jokhang temple in lieu of purchased offerings of
Chinese spirits that have been used in recent years.

Tibetans in Tibet celebrated in October 2007 when
the Dalai Lama was awarded the Congressional Gold
Medal in Washington despite restrictions on
religious practice. One of the major monasteries
in Lhasa, Drepung, was sealed off and surrounded
by armed troops after police stopped an attempt
by monks to peacefully mark the honor to the
Dalai Lama, which was presented to him by

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Director of Communications, International Campaign for Tibet
Tel: +44 (0) 7947 138612

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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