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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."

Tibetans in Germany Cancel New Year's Celebrations

February 27, 2009

Deutsche Welle
February 25, 2009
Tibetans in exile in Germany will not host New Years celebrations this
year. Instead, monks and supporters will commemorate the victims of last
year's riots.


Tibetans and supporters in Germany have called off celebrations for
Losar, the Tibetan New Year. The decision intended to be "a sign of
passive resistance" and a show of solidarity to the region, said the
Tibet Initiative of Germany TID in Berlin.

TID said in a statement the cancellation also commemorated the victims
who died during the Chinese crackdown on riots in Tibet and other parts
of China in March 2008.

The Dalai Lama warned Tibetans to be cautious during Losar, celebrated
on Wednesday, Feb. 25. He told his followers that Chinese authorities
were plotting a crackdown of "unimaginable" force.

"There is a heavy presence of armed security and military forces in most
of the cities all over Tibet," the Dalai Lama said in his New Year's
message. "In all the places, those who dare to come out even with a
slight hint of their aspirations have to face torture and detention."

German government should speak up for Tibet

March 10 marks the 50th anniversary of Tibet's uprising in 1959 and the
Dalai Lama's subsequent exile to India.

According to TID, the closer the anniversary came, the stronger were
sanctions by Chinese authorities. Tibet has been shut off to foreigners
in March. The region was practically in a state of emergency, it said.

"No one can say at the moment how our fellow countrymen in Tibet are
going to react to the pressure," said TID's head of the board, Dalha
Agyitsang. "We desperately hope that this year, demonstrators won't
again be brutally beaten down and Tibetans persecuted in masses."

TID and the Association of Tibetans in Germany VTD have called on the
German government to speak out on behalf of Tibetans.

"Germany has to make clear to the Chinese authorities that the
increasing oppression harbored great potential of danger," said TID
chairman Wolfgang Grader. "Measures such as the ongoing campaign
'drastic action' since the beginning of the year threaten to bring the
powder keg Tibet to explode."

Chinese authorities oppose movement

The movement to cancel Losar celebrations spread by word-of-mouth,
despite Chinese efforts to keep it quiet, TID said.

Media reports said the Beijing government had forced Tibetans to hold
dances and festivities, showing them on state television ahead of the
New Year. It had broadcast footage of dancers in bright, traditional
Tibetan dress with crimson-robed monks applauding in the front row.

"The atmosphere welcoming the New Year is deepening," a Chinese state
television anchor said earlier this week. "Everyone is praising their
happy lives."

On Feb. 15 and 16, the largest protests since last year's riots took
place in Lithang in eastern Tibet. More than 100 Tibet monks, laymen and
nomads took part, TID said. Over 20 participants were arrested.
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