Undeterred by security clampdown, celebrations mark His Holiness's birthday in eastern Tibet

Tibetans in Karze celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday with Sangsol ceremony on 6 July

DHARAMSHALA: Tibetans in Karze in eastern Tibet celebrated His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 76th birthday with prayer ceremonies on 6 July, despite heavy deployment of security forces and harsh imprisonment given to thirteen Tibetans a day before.

The Intermediate People's Court in Karze in its verdict on 5 July charged the thirteen Tibetans for taking part in peaceful demonstrations in the main market of Karze in June. 

Amongst those sentenced, Sonam Choegyal and Sonam Nyima, both aged 19, have received 3-year jail terms, after they were severely beaten and arrested for staging peaceful protest in the main market on 24 June. Both are native of Khakar village in Lhopa township in Karze. They are currently lodged in a prison in Drakgo district in Karze. 

The Tibetans in the region were not deterred by the government's heavy handed-approach and the prevailing military crackdown, as they celebrated His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 76th birthday on 6 July.

Remarkable images posted on the website of International Campaign for Tibet showed plumes of smoke arising from houses on a hillside in Karze as the Tibetans perform incense burning ceremony in honour of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, despite the intense military crackdown in the region. 

Thousands of Tibetan flocked to a holy mountain in Tawu in Karze on the early hours of His Holiness' birthday on 6 July.

Karze has been under intense security control since March 2008 when protests swept across the region resulting in a severe security crackdown, and particularly in recent weeks. A new wave of protests began recently, resulting in at least 30 Tibetans, including some senior monks, nuns and laypeople, being detained in at least 15 separate peaceful demonstrations calling for freedom, the release of local and respected religious teachers, and for the Dalai Lama to return home.

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