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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

TIBETAN NGOs CANCEL NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS TO MARK 'BLACK YEAR'

January 28, 2009

January 27, 2009

Prayer vigils planned to mourn Tibetans killed by Chinese forces in 2008


Dharamshala, India - Tibetan exile groups announced today they will 
cancel Tibetan New Year celebrations to mourn the deaths of over two 
hundred Tibetans killed by Chinese forces following the uprising in 
Tibet last year, and to protest China's ongoing crackdown. According 
to the Tibetan lunar calendar, February 25th will mark the first day 
of 2136, the year of the Earth Ox. Instead of the usual celebrations 
marked by singing, dancing and other festivities, silence will be 
observed and butter lamps will be lit in the temples and homes to pray 
for the deceased. Tibetan leaders also called on Tibetans worldwide to 
organize similar observances in their communities.


In observance of a one-year mourning period, Tibetans inside Tibet are 
refraining from public festivities on Tibetan New Year. Tibet remains 
under virtual martial law, with the Chinese government imposing travel 
restrictions on Tibetans as well as foreign journalists in many areas.


"This year, we honor the sacrifice of countless Tibetans who rose up 
to show China and the world that even after 50 years of brutal 
occupation, Tibetans are determined to regain our freedom," said Dr. 
B. Tsering, president of the Tibetan Women's' Association. "We mourn 
our brothers and sisters who were killed in China's violent crackdown 
while we stand in solidarity with those who continue to suffer under 
China's totalitarian rule."


Tibetan New Year or Losar is one of the most auspicious holidays in 
the Tibetan calendar and is traditionally celebrated for a minimum of 
three days. This year Losar falls on 25th - 27th of February, just 
over two weeks before the 50th commemoration of the March 10th Tibetan 
National Uprising of 1959, when the Dalai Lama was forced to escape 
into exile. March 10th will also mark one year since protests by 
Tibetan monks in Lhasa sparked a nationwide uprising across the 
Tibetan plateau.


"By not celebrating Losar, we are honoring all those Tibetans who have 
died in the past year for the freedom of our homeland," said Ven. 
Ngawang Woebar, president of Gu-Chu-Sum Ex-Political Prisoners' 
Movement. "On the eve of the commemoration of two historic uprisings 
-- one in 1959 and the other in 2008 -- we call on Tibetans worldwide 
to join us in re-dedicating ourselves to the cause of our nation."


The Tibetan People's Uprising Movement, organized by The Tibetan 
Women's Association, Gu-Chu-Sum Ex-political Prisoners Movement, 
National Democratic Party of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet 
(India) aims to revive the spirit of the Tibetan National Uprising of 
1959, and by engaging in nonviolent direct action, bring about an end 
to China's illegal occupation of Tibet.


*Contact:*

Dr. B. Tsering for English at +91 941 879 2810

Ven. Ngawang Woebar for Tibetan at +91 941 810 2483
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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