The Tibetan holy month, the Saga Dawa festival in Tibet. Photo: file

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Lhasa, Tibet – Chinese authorities in occupied Tibet tighten their control over Tibetans, banning not only officials but also ordinary Tibetans from visiting monasteries during the Tibetan holy month, Saga Dawa festival. However, the Chinese authorities have allowed an increasing number of Chinese tourists to visit these monasteries, in violation of religious freedom.

According to reliable sources, Chinese authorities in Tibet, increased a tight control on Tibetans during the Saga Dawa, first by preventing officials and their families from praying in monasteries, particularly during Saga Dawa, and now by banning ordinary Tibetans from visiting monasteries. However, the Chinese authorities allowed an increasing number of Chinese tourists to visit these places, which is in violation of religious freedom of Tibetans.

The Chinese authorities tightened their grip on Tibetans during the holy month of Sagadawa, restricting and preventing Tibetans from visiting monasteries, even if authorized, and checking their identity cards every time they entered the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street, in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

“I have to show my ID card every time I enter Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street, even though I am a Tibetan, a local Tibetan, and this has created difficulties for us, they (Chinese authorities) have increased restrictions on prayers and access to the temple, especially during the Saga Dawa festival," a Tibetan source told TPI.

A Chinese tourist recently visited Lhasa and said on her Chinese social network (Wechat): "I am visiting Barkhor Street, but I have to show my ID card to enter the street, and it may be the only street in the country where you have to show an ID card to enter.”

The Chinese authorities have been trying to eliminate Tibetan identities for decades, not only by restricting Tibetans' prayers, their visits to monasteries and their worship of lamas and monks, including their exiled spiritual leaders, but also by eliminating the Tibetan language in schools, in the workplace and everywhere. Even recurring employees selling houses in Shigatse, in Tibetan areas, have to know the Chinese language to get the job. In Shigatse, Tibet, a young Tibetan woman posted a job advertisement on video, she said, "Employees must know Chinese.”

The situation of the Tibetan language is in danger, due to the repressive policies of the Chinese government, which attacks Tibetan teachers and defenders of the language, closes Tibetan schools and makes it impossible to get a job if you don't speak the Chinese language. Tibetans are worried about the fate of the Tibetan language, especially Tibetan teachers in Tibet who fear that their mother tongue will soon disappear and that they will not be able to pass it on to younger generations due to China's intransigent policy in Tibet. A famous Tibetan teacher declared, “The time has come for all our language teachers to make an effort. This is a critical time. Our ancestors have passed on to us, generation after generation, our unique culture and language. The responsibility of our language teachers towards our nationality and our children is decisive for our future."