Dharamshala: - Emerging reports coming out Tibet say China has imposed a heavy restriction on Tibetans in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet during the first day of the six day Shoton festival that took place on Tuesday.
Many photos received from the capital of Lhasa showed the Beijing's efforts to control Tibetan traditional events, including Shoton Festival with a massive deployment of armed forces at the two of the great three university monasteries of Tibet; Drepung and Sera Monasteries in anticipation of possible unrest during the ongoing festival.
"Chinese government has stepped up heavy restrictions on the religious activities of Tibetans at the Drepung Monastery in the capital Lhasa as they observe the festival with a giant painted Thangka displaying of Buddha," Ngawang Woebar, a Tibetan monk living in India told The Tibet Post International (TPI).
"Scanners were installed by Chinese authorities on either side of the entrance to the Drepung Monastery near capital Lhasa, where thousands of Tibetans and Chinese pilgrims have gathered for for festival, which is known to be one of the most popular traditional festivals in Tibet being held from August 6-12," he added.
"Some of the Chinese security personals among the crowds could be seen in the reports by Chinese state run media as a propaganda purpose used by the authorities. Their reports however try to indicate or prove that the festival is undergoing without restriction. The official reports however showed mainly the crowds celebrating the festival with a giant painted Thangka displaying Buddha," sources to TPI said.
"Heavy armed troops were also deployed to Sera monastery in Lhasa. Then can clearly been seen at crowds gathered at the festival and within the monastery watched as Tibetans solemnly proceed with the ceremony," Sonam, a Tibetan man living in Switzerland told TPI.
The latest images from the region reveal the real and tense situation in Tibet, including capital Lhasa, a place tightly controlled and repressed by the Chinese government.
Shoton Festival originates from the 11th century. It had been exclusively a religious observance until the 17th century when the Great 5th Dalai Lama introduced the Tibetan opera into the celebration, making it as a nationwide gala.
Being one of the largest festivals on the roof of the world, it serves as a showcase to rooted tradition, appealing culture and great piety of the Tibetan people.
The festival mainly consists of three parts - giant Buddha display, Tibetan opera show and horsemanship & Yak race show. In combination they represent the best of Tibetan religion, culture and tradition.
First day of the festival, about 600 square meter Thangka displaying Buddha opened up as the morning as thousands gathered for the annual ceremony. The giant Thangka roll up again and carry back to the monasteries after nearly six hours of display.