Citing Covid-19 fears, China has banned Tibetan New Year gatherings but resumed work on major projects

Tibetan New Year celebrations in Lhasa. (Photo courtesy: Tibet Tour)

(, Feb20’20) – Although Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has been officially reported to be the only provincial-level region of the People’s Republic of China free of the Covid-19 infection, the authorities have imposed tight restrictions on festive gatherings, including even among families and relatives, during the Tibetan New Year celebrations beginning Feb 24. However, work on a series of infrastructure projects are continuing, said China’s official media reports.

The city of Shannan (Tibetan: Lhokha) posted an initiative on its official account on WeChat, a popular Chinese social media platform, calling on residents not to visit relatives or friends, nor to hold gatherings during the Tibetan New Year, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 19.

It also said the district-level governments under the administration of Lhasa had suspended gathering activities during the festival.

Tibetan New Year is all about visiting temples as well as friends and relative besides holding mass ceremonial events.

However, another Xinhua report said Feb 19 that workers were continuing their work on a series of infrastructure projects in the TAR. One was stated to be an enormous water project in Sa’gya County designed to help with irrigation, supply water, generate power and prevent flooding.

Another was stated to be the construction of the 27.2 billion yuan (3.9 billion U.S. dollars) Lhasa-Nyingchi railway involving 1,881 workers.

The report said TAR had arranged 179 projects for this year, with an expected investment of 187.2 billion yuan, up 18 per cent year on year, and that work had resumed on some of these projects.


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