(TibetanReview.net, Feb25’16) – As thousands of Tibetans gathered for their annual traditional New Year religious event at Kumbum Monastery in Tsoshar (Chinese: Haidong) Prefecture of Qinghai Province, Armed Chinese police carried out drills and mingled with the crowd in Feb 2016, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Feb 23.
The prayer festival, known in Tibetan as Chotul Monlam, culminated on its 15th day on Feb 22 with armed Chinese police, deployed in large numbers, mingling with the crowd, the report added.
The intimidating atmosphere, including with display of arms, was reported to have spoiled the event’s religious significance and atmosphere.
China sees such gatherings as nothing but potential sources of trouble. During the current Monlam festival, the authorities even ordered government workers in the Tibetan areas to monitor Tibetan activities “day and night”. They were also ordered not to take leave from work unless it was an emergency.
The annual Monlam festival is also traditionally marked with grandeur in Tibet’s capital.