Information received by TCHRD confirmed that Gephel, a Tibetan student from Muge Township in Zungchu (Ch: Songpan) County, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo, was detained on the evening of 24 January from his home for displaying Buddhist flags instead of Chinese flag as the backdrop on the stage during ‘Losar’ New Year celebration show.
As Tibetans in Tibet mourn the loss of lives in self-immolation protests by observing a quiet Losar (Tibetan New Year), the Chinese authorities are ordering Tibetans to celebrate the festival by announcing huge rewards, and punishments for those who disobey the order.
According to information received by TCHRD, days prior to Losar, which began 11 February, Chinese officials in Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) Prefecture, Qinghai Province, were seen visiting Tibetan villages in the area, ordering the Tibetans to celebrate the New Year.
Officials announced that villagers would be rewarded handsomely if they celebrate the New Year. They warned that those Tibetans who did not celebrate would be deprived of financial help for farming and animal husbandry.