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China punishes 110 Tibetans for online sharing of cancelled horse-racing festival photos

(TibetanReview.net, Aug12’21) – Chinese authorities in Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu) City in northern Tibet have punished 110 local Tibetans for having shared online pictures of preparations for an annual horse-racing festival. The festival was to be held at Janglam Village in Nyanrong County from Aug 9 to 20 but was cancelled as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 infection which has seen a surge in recent days in parts of mainland China.

Along with the order cancelling the festival, the authorities were reported to have warned the local Tibetans not to share publicly photos and videos of the event’s preparations or of officials, police or ceremonies, according to the Tibetan service of rfa.org Aug 11 and London-based Free Tibet campaign group Aug 12.

The reports said that following the cancellation of the festival, the police called the local Tibetans to a meeting on Aug 9. All had their mobile handsets confiscated for inspection by the 11 police personnel present at the meeting.

Names of 110 Tibetan were then called out and they were ordered to report to the local police station as they had violated the ban on pictures related to the horse-racing festival.

“Some of them were fined 5,000 yuan [U.S. $772] and were told they must report to the police station once a week,” rfa.org quoted a local resident as saying.

Referring to the unfairness of the cancelling of major Tibetan festivals by the Chinese authorities in recent days, a local resident has told the rfa.org: “Tibetans were barred from celebrating the Shoton Festival in Lhasa and the Horse Racing Festival in Nagchu, but the Chinese government didn’t hesitate to celebrate the 70th anniversary of what they call the ‘liberation’ of Tibet, with the full festivities.”

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