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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?"

Tibetan exiles not to celebrate new year

February 9, 2009

by Indo-Asian News Service on February 7, 2009

in World News

Tibetan exiles have decided not to celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year),
the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) of its government-in-exile said
Saturday. According to the Tibetan lunar calendar, Losar is the first
day of the year. Traditionally, it is celebrated in a big way. This
year, Losar is on Feb 25.

“The CTA will hold only customary religious programmes to mark Tibetan
New Year, taking into consideration the continuing repression in Tibet
and the ruthless crackdown last year (2008) which resulted in the deaths
of hundreds of Tibetans and thousands imprisoned,” said its statement
issued here.

“We (the CTA) appeal to all the departments concerned and offices of the
administration not to organise any lavish celebrations such as hosting
feasts, dance parties and lighting firecrackers.”

Other organisations of Tibetan exiles based in this Indian hill town
have also decided not to participate in festivities to mark the day.

“We will observe silence to mourn the death of our brethren who
sacrificed their lives for the cause of people in Tibet during the
Beijing Olympics,” said president of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC)
Tsewang Rigzin. The group has more than 30,000 members across the globe.

The TYC, which the Chinese labelled as a “terrorist organisation”, plans
to burn effigies of Chinese leaders on that day.

B. Tsering, president of the Tibetan Women Association, said: “This
year, we (the exiles) will remember the sacrifice made by countless
unsung heroes during the past five decades… This is an occasion to mourn
those who sacrificed their lives and to express solidarity with those
who are still suffering.”

Nobel Peace laureate the Dalai Lama, who along with many of his
supporters fled Tibet and took refuge here in 1959, has spent the last
two decades of his exile campaigning for “meaningful autonomy” for his
homeland.

In March 2008, protests against Chinese rule in Lhasa erupted into
violence which spread to other areas of western China.

Tibet’s government-in-exile, which is based here, said more than 219
people were killed and 1,294 injured in the subsequent Chinese crackdown.

Nearly six million Tibetans live in Tibet region of China while over
150,000 live in other countries, most of them in India.
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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