Tibetan New Year Protests Around the World Today: Boycotting Losar.


43 Responses to “Tibetan New Year Protests Around the World Today: Boycotting Losar.”

  1. bob bob says:


    The sculptures you are referring to are relics looted by the French from Yuan Ming Yuan, the Old Summer Palace:


    As such, they are protected by the UNESCO Convention on illicit traffic and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

    They SHOULD be returned to China.

  2. pyota says:

    takuan says china is near economic collapse. china has been through far, far worse than this and has recovered. take a look through china’s long history and this current crisis will look mild by comparison. also, there are plenty of valid issues to criticize china for, but keep in mind its not exactly an easy matter to administer a state of over a billion people.

  3. bob bob says:


    You didn’t get my point. By the time China disintegrates, independence for Tibet should be the last of your worries.

    FYI, US is not China’s largest trade partner:
    1. EAE Asia
    2. EU
    3. US
    4. Japan
    5. Korea

    China is less dependent on US than US on China…

  4. Takuan says:

    also, if Beijing is offended by stolen cultural treasures, why did they destroy all those Tibetan relics and historical artifacts?

  5. Boeotian says:

    Free Tibet!

    Sometimes it amazes me when I think about it, that we still have that sort of thing being in 2009 and the world being so distant from the barbarian atrocity it used to be centuries ago.

    And then just seconds after thinking that I just realize that I completely and momentarily forgot that we actually improved as humans, as a whole, so little in such a long history. We learned a lot about science and technology but almost nothing about our peers and our own humanity.


  6. bob bob says:

    On the subject of human rights, China has, single-handedly, brought more people (300 million) out of poverty than the rest of the world combined, and faster (30 years time span) than anywhere else has been able to achieve. By this account, I say the Chinese government have done a remarkable job in improving human rights in China.

  7. bob bob says:

    Read: Cultural Revolution. During that time period, destruction was not limited to Tibetans, but all Chinese.

  8. Takuan says:

    Bob bob, your assumptions are showing. They make my case too.

  9. Takuan says:

    the stabling of horses in the Potala took place around the time of the original invasion by China. The systematic removal of any Tibetan cultural objects has been continuous from then to now. The Cultural Revolution may be a nadir, but to Tibet it just marks an especially bad time in one long, bad time.

  10. peanut says:

    Losar is Tibetan and the Chinese has no right forcing them to celebrate it. Ultimately, if the Chinese has their ways, they will try to merge it with their Chinese New Years, effectively removing the cultural importance of Losar, thus over time people will forget it. It is a sneaky way of getting rid of indiginous celebrations. It is no different than how the U.S. got rid of Native American holidays and celebrations and replaced them with our own. I’m sure if you ask any Native American about Thanksgiving or Columbus Day, they’ll give you an earful.

  11. noen says:

    “I say the Chinese government have done a remarkable job in improving human rights in China.”

    That’s a very strange perspective. It’s the same kind of myopia on the right that says African American slaves were lucky we ‘lifted them up’ out of their squalid lives in Africa.

    It takes massive levels of blinkered privilege and racism for former slave holders to say to the descendants of slaves they should be grateful for all we did for them. It makes little difference if that message is delivered in Mandarin.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have Chinese friends who firmly believe that Tibet (and Taiwan for that matter) are, and always have been, parts of China.

    They are of the opinion that both countries would be happier if their dissenting elements would just be quiet (I was going to say, “would go away” but that just sounds too sinister) and let the rest of the happy-to-be-Chinese population get on with their lives.

    I’m not here to make a comment about the historical basis for their views. Either you believe that Taiwan and Tibet are/were part of China or you don’t.

    However, it does strike me that no matter what the truth of history might be, the current situation is that significant proportions of the populace of both countries do not wish to be ruled by another state. How China has chosen to deal with that dissension is really what continues to damage their human rights reputation.

    Capture zen: 1968 truth

  13. TJ S says:

    I’m blocked from reading the article, but through wikipedia I noticed that three people have set themselves on fire near Tiananmen Square.

  14. Baldhead says:

    China seems determined to make people side with Tibet in this argument.

    I still don’t get why it’s so important to them.

  15. Takuan says:

    perhaps Tibet will swallow China. An idea beats oppression – over time. Tibet exports ideas. What does China export?

  16. Takuan says:

    why is Beijing so terrified of letting people vote their destiny? It’s greed at the root of it. China could get what Tibet has by purchase and bully favourable terms for it. Why do they have to extinguish the Tibetans and seize like a thief?

  17. Takuan says:

    here TJS

    China expects Tibet to celebrate, or else
    Kyodo News
    UNDER WATCH: As a security official looks on, monks gather this month at a temple in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital.
    Instead of planning festivities to mark their beloved New Year’s, Tibetans want to remember those who died in last year’s protests against Chinese rule. But Beijing has other ideas.
    By Barbara Demick
    February 23, 2009
    Reporting from Beijing — The Chinese government has a New Year’s greeting for Tibetans: Celebrate, or else.

    The Tibetan New Year, or Losar, is normally the most festive holiday of the year, when Tibetans burn incense, make special dumplings and set off fireworks. But this year, Tibetans have declared a moratorium on celebrating their own holiday, saying they will instead observe a mourning period for people killed last year during protests against Chinese rule.

    Tibet’s Dalai Lama out of hospital: ‘nothing serious’

    The 15-day holiday begins Wednesday, and as it approaches, tensions are rising. In the last few weeks, the Chinese government has closed large swaths of western China to foreign visitors — not just Tibet itself, but parts of provinces with large Tibetan populations.

    Nearly a year after the violent demonstrations reportedly left more than 120 dead, Tibetans are trying a novel technique for nonviolent protest. “Say No to Losar,” as the campaign is called, was launched by Tibetan groups in Dharamsala, India, the Dalai Lama’s home in exile.

    “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,” they announced in a statement last month.

    The tactic appears to be driving Chinese authorities crazy. They’re countering with their own campaign of forced merriment, organizing concerts, pageants, fireworks, horse races, archery competitions. They’ve declared a one-week public holiday beginning today in Tibet and are offering free admission to museums and parks.

    The Communist Party in Tibet also gave vouchers worth $120 each to 37,000 low-income families to shop for the holidays.

    To further tempt the 2.8 million Tibetans, state television will broadcast a four-hour gala with 800 performers Tuesday night.

    “They want to show that the Tibetan people are happy, that they have returned to normal life. But by intervening, they’re making them unhappy,” said Tsering Shayka, a Tibetan historian now living in Canada. “They are trying to come up with gimmicks instead of solving the problem.”

    Robert Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University in New York, says that Chinese efforts to push New Year’s celebrations are likely to backfire.

    “I think people will ask, ‘Why is the Communist Party telling me what to do in my own home?’ ” Barnett said.

    At Beijing’s Central University for Nationalities, Tibetan students who had applied last year for permission to hold a Losar celebration informed the university recently that they wished to cancel. But the university told them that the party must go on, said a university source who asked not to be quoted by name.

    “Celebrating is compulsory,” he said.

    As the holiday nears, tensions are spilling into the open.

    On Feb. 14, a 39-year-old Tibetan monk set off a furor when he walked through a public market in the Tibetan plateau’s Lithang county carrying a photograph of the Dalai Lama and chanting, “No Losar.” Hundreds of people reportedly joined the protests, which continued into the next two days, according to the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy. The group said that Chinese police detained 21 people, some of whom were badly beaten, and that the county has been locked down for the holiday.

    Reports say that as many as 20,000 additional soldiers and paramilitary troops have been deployed in Tibetan areas and that in Qinghai province, village leaders were threatened with arrest if they urged people not to celebrate the holiday.

    Even among Tibetans, there is a vigorous debate about the campaign to boycott Losar. The holiday, which dates back to pre-Buddhist times, is the most beloved in the Tibetan calendar and involves elaborate rituals and meals. Families traditionally make a soup with special dumplings in which they hide various items — chile pepper, wool, charcoal — and family members read their fortune by which dumpling they pick.

    “The very idea that there won’t be any Losar is, let’s admit it, a little bit like calling off Christmas in a Christian community,” one Tibetan blogger complained.

    In addition to the tension over the holiday, next month will bring the 50-year anniversary of a failed anti-Chinese uprising, after which the Dalai Lama fled to India. The date has traditionally been a trigger for protests within Tibet, and this year might be especially tense because the Chinese plan to mark the occasion with a celebration of what they are calling “Serf Emancipation Day.” The Chinese government says it liberated the Tibetans from brutal feudal serfdom.

    In a preemptive strike against another flare-up of violence, the Chinese have held thousands of Tibetans at a detention center east of Lhasa, according to bloggers in the Tibetan capital.

    The Chinese also have launched a crackdown in Tibetan regions on out-of-town visitors without residency permits. Foreign tourists have been banned until at least April, people in the tourist industry said.

    “It is going to be a very sensitive time. When the Tibetan New Year is finished, then it will be the one-year anniversary of the riots,” said a Tibetan tour guide who asked not to be quoted by name.

    He said foreigners would not be sold plane or train tickets if they tried to get into Tibetan areas. “You can’t get in if they don’t want you in.”


    Nicole Liu and Eliot Gao of The Times’ Beijing Bureau contributed to this report.

  18. Filekutter says:

    Just saw tweet by Xeni, “Three people just set themselves on fire near Tiananmen Square”
    Also heard on NPR this morning that China is howling for old sculptures being auctioned by Yves St Laurent estate. Estate supposedly said they would return items IF China made specified moves towards free speech and humane treatment of ppl.
    Free Tibet.

  19. Takuan says:

    having this in your pocket or even looking at it gets you killed in Chinese-ruled Tibet today:

    Is that how people should live?

  20. Takuan says:

    here’s a question for the real China scholars: if central control from Beijing fails, what are the natural fragments that current China will break into?

  21. noen says:

    China as a failed state is pretty frightening.

  22. Teller says:

    #2: “TIBET’S stupendous mineral wealth was one of China’s primary reasons for the invasion of 1949…” http://www.tibet.com/Eco/tibet-2000.html

    Add to that Tibet’s tremendous water, forestry and agricultural resources. China clearly views Tibet’s wealth as a matter of future security.

  23. Takuan says:

    perhaps something unforeseeable will happen. Right now the genocide pogrom is predicated on flooding Tibet with Han immigrants and marginalizing the Tibetans into cultural extinction. The looting of resources continues apace with plenty of collaboration from outside nations. But China is extremely vulnerable right now to disintegration by economic collapse. If Beijing actually finds itself in danger of losing all real control, they may very well totally flood Tibet with internal exiles as Stalin used Siberia. But these people may not have any love for their jailers. Who knows, could Tibetans and exiled Chinese create a new people and society that isn’t solely concerned with draining and raping the land of Tibet?

  24. neurolux says:

    Such a bizarre tactic from China. Isn’t it like Israel forcing the Palestinians to celebrate Id al-Fitr?

  25. Baldhead says:

    looking at history- 1910- 1949 is the only period in the past several hundred years at least where Tibet was independent from China- so the argument that China historically includes Tibet is pretty sound.

    But the same argument could be made for Estonia and Russia, huge parts of the middle east having different borders, etc. so that scant justification doesn’t wash in this case. Tibetans don’t want chinese (or at least anti- religious communist) rule and China’s sense of entitlement is seeming as bad as Britian 100 years ago (or even the US 50 years ago)

  26. bob bob says:


    Perhaps I missed something. China owns over 1 trillion USD in US treasuries, and are continuing to buy at a pace of roughly 1 billion USD per day. Chinese banks are not exposed to the same problems now seeing in the US and European banks. Hillary Clinton just went to China to beg the Chinese to continue buying US treasuries to cover the Obama stimulus plan. Where do you get the idea China will disintegrate by economic collapse before the US goes kaput?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’m celebrating Losar by smoking pot and listening to the Beastie Boys. Oh wait, that’s what I do every day…

  28. kc0bbq says:

    To Bob Bob:

    While they may have lifted a lot of people out of “poverty” (not by what is the poverty line in the US or EU by any stretch of the imagination, though) they are also the same government that killed unbelievable amounts of people through government induced famine, so it’s all a wash in the end if you want to get all relative. Lots (and by lots I mean LOTS LOTS LOTS) of blood on the Chinese government’s hands. Besides, human rights aren’t solely income. There’s free speech, and that’s not possible when the government is paying a lot of people to shill the government line. Read any discussion page that even remotely has to do with a topic that the PRC wants to crush on wikipedia. It’s an epic fight against them. Or freedom of movement. Or any number of other things. It’s also not just the Tibetans that they want to destroy through displacement, it’s other groups like the Uyghur, too. Pretty much anyone who isn’t Han Chinese.

  29. Takuan says:

    I never said anything about “China will disintegrate by economic collapse before the US goes kaput?” Perhaps both will fall. Perhaps the USA will collapse first and then China. As for China lending more to the USA, will the USA keep buying from China?

  30. Takuan says:

    China as a failed state is terrifying. But a real possibility. Who gets the nukes? Will North Korea already be liquidated? Refugees? Millions of them? Economic chaos… dogs and cats, living together….
    That’s why as much as the USA would like to not have to repay and as much as Russia and India would love to have a weak neighbour, it isn’t in anyone’s best interests for it to happen. But it could still happen. It isn’t about any political choice or will at this point. The UK recently sold out Tibet for money, Hillary just did, Canada has dirty hands on the exploitation railway, it is not looking good for Tibet or Tibetans. What I fear is Beijing jumping the gun and moving right on into full scale, open extermination, their own little Final Solution to the Tibetan Problem. The world needs to keep looking at Tibet. I sincerely hope decency prevails over bloodlust and they don’t launch a massacre that in the end wouldn’t change a thing for China’s economic future.

  31. IamInnocent says:

    #4 Filekutter

    Also heard on NPR this morning that China is howling for old sculptures being auctioned by Yves St Laurent estate. Estate supposedly said they would return items IF China made specified moves towards free speech and humane treatment of ppl.
    Free Tibet.

    And then Pineault-Printemps-Redoute who own the YSL brand gets its luxury clothing made in Asian sweatshops: the world has entered in a strange dance.

  32. kc0bbq says:

    #28 It’s all about appearances. If something looks harmonius on the outside, it’s just as good as being harmonius. That’s why dissent is so brutally quashed, and why they fear people self-immolating so much.

  33. Takuan says:

    depends whose history books you are reading. I don’t trust history books written in countries that don’t have basic human rights.

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