For Immediate Release
Tibetans and supporters cancel New Year celebrations worldwide
In solidarity with ‘No Losar’ resisitance in Tibet
(Montreal, Tuesday, 24 February 2009) –In solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet, Tibetans and supporters across Canada have cancelled traditional celebrations of Losar, (Tibetan New Year) and are marking the occasion with prayer services and vigils instead, the Canada Tibet Committee announced.
Losar is one of the most important, auspicious and festive holidays of Tibetans and is traditionally celebrated with great enthusiasm and festivity for a minimum of three days and maximum of fifteen days.
Large numbers of Tibetans in Tibet have decided not to hold the traditional celebrations, both as an act of passive resistance and a mark of respect to those who lost their lives during China’s crackdown on the wave of protest that swept the Tibetan plateau in 2008.
“The ‘No Losar’ campaign honours the countless Tibetans who bravely stood up last year to show the Chinese authorities that, even after half a century, the Tibetan people continue to resist the occupation of Tibet,” said CTC executive director Dermod Travis.
The ‘No Losar’ movement spread across Tibet by word of mouth despite the virtual martial law that prevails in the region. Security in Tibet remains high following last year’s protests and, with the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising on March 10 fast approaching, China has instituted new measures to intimidate Tibetans and denigrate their cultural and religious identity.
On February 15 and 16, 2009, more than 100 Tibetan monks, laypeople and nomads staged the largest protests in Tibet since the early months of 2008. The first protests took place in Lithang County in eastern Tibet and were prompted by the arrest of Lobsang Lhundup, a 39-year old Tibetan monk who had publicly called for Tibetans not to celebrate Losar. At least 24 Tibetans have reportedly been detained at present as a result of the protests.
The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent non-governmental organisation of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in Canada, who are concerned about the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet.
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