China detains Tibetans returning from Buddhist festival, arrests devotee who sees vision of Dalai Lama in the Moon

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks during a teaching session on the first day of the Kalachakra festival in the eastern Indian city of Bodhgaya January 1, 2012. The Kalachakra is a 10-day festival comprising Buddha teachings and meditations, taking place at Bodhgaya where Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash

Ed Wong in the New York Times writes about reports that hundreds of Tibetan Buddhists who attended the Kalachakra ceremony in January in India have been detained without charge by Chinese security officers upon returning to China-controlled Tibet.

This is the first time that the Chinese authorities have detained large numbers of Tibetan pilgrims returning from the ceremony, held regularly in India among other places. Many of the pilgrims are elderly and have been detained for more than two months in central Tibet, or what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region. The detainees are being interrogated and undergoing patriotic re-education classes, and have been ordered to denounce the Dalai Lama, who presided over the ceremony, known as the Kalachakra, say people who have researched the detentions. The detainees are being held at hotels, schools and military training centers or bases; some are being forced to pay for their lodging and meals.

Full story is here (via NgawangYonten).

Meanwhile, the desperate protest-suicides continue. 33 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest of Chinese rule since 2009, according to the Tibetan government in exile. And on April 8, a 26 year old Tibetan man in India jumped to his death in the river Ganges, a few days after texting to a friend, “It is my personal decision... Free Tibet.” According to reports, Dhondup Phuntsok was wearing a ‘Free Tibet' t-shirt.

“Ruby di, sorry I lied actually I want to do it myself and it is my personal decision whatsoever the consequences maybe tonight,” Dhondup Phuntsok texted Ruby of Ganasamnnay, an Indian organisation that works for Tibetan refugees. “This is just me and myself. I will delete all the phone numbers from my cell so that no one gets disturbed if I am caught in this act…Free Tibet,” Dhondup Phuntsok wrote.

“I want to tell my people that writing free Tibet at the gate of the consulate is a better way to protest than self-immolating oneself,” Dhonduo Phuntsok further wrote.

And today, news that China is punishing devotees who see visions of the Dalai Lama in the moon.

A report coming out of Tibet say Phurbu Namgyal, a 20-year-old youth from Lhundup district near Tibet’s capital Lhasa, saw reflection of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the moon recently. He confided his experience to his friends while working together at a club house in Lhasa. He told them that if someone gazes at the night sky one can see His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the moon. All of them then started looking at the sky to see the vision outside the club. The police from the public security bureau knew about this and arbitrarily picked up Phurbu Namgyal alleging him for committing an illegal act. His whereabouts and well-being remain unknown.


  1. And yet China is still surprised and angry that a UN report rated them 112th happiest country out of 156.

    1. 44 countries suck worse than China. 
      That must be a historical high for China. 
      Never been better. 

  2. I heard from a friend in Shanghai that a Chinese doctor she knows is going to Tibet to help with emergency medical services, or something along those lines. She can’t talk too much about Tibet online without getting disconnected, so I wasn’t able to ascertain why it was necessary for doctors from Shanghai to go to Tibet to help. So I’m wondering if there’s a whole lot more going on than we know (admittedly I haven’t been following it very closely).

  3. The Chinese government… Christ, what a bunch of assholes.

    Seriously though, why do they spend so much time, money and effort. And squander so much good will from the rest of the world oppressing the Tibetans?  What is the point? 

    1. I suppose if they get lazy on the Tibetan frontier they fear it might bolster more protests on their home ground. The majority of the “anti-Japan” protests in 2010 and 2011 were actually anti-government demos dressed up and peppered with Japanese flags in altered videos to distract from domestic dissent.

      The PRC’s human rights abuses are appalling and even seem to be emboldening the US to follow their examples of torture and jackbooting on a massive scale. 

      May their oppressive regime go the way of so many others in history.

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