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15september200920Dharamshala: Saga Dawa Festival, which falls on April 15 in the Tibetan lunar calender, is celebrated as the day of Buddha Sakyamuni's birth, enlightment, and death, by Buddhists aross the world. At this year's festival, on June 7 of the western calendar, Chinese authorities deployed thousands of armed military personnel to every corner of Jokhang Temple and the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital city, to crackdown on 200 Tibetan businessmen and merchants circubulating while chanting, "May the gods be victorious."

Tibetans involved were captured by security cameras and arrested by Chinese authorities upon returning to their homes. The detainees were accused of inciting rebellion by provoking individuals to perform acts of faith such as making offerings to the gods and wearing traditional dress.

Later, however, all detainees were released except one participant named Sotop, 40, from Kargang township in Dege Jodha, eastern Tibet. At one time a representative responsible for expressing local Tibetans' issues to the Chinese government, Sotop has been missing for the past three months. His family, including relative Jurme who is calling upon the Tibetan government-in-exile, NGOs, and the international community to support the search for Sotop, is anxious about his health and whereabouts.

The released Tibetan protesters and remaining suspects' daily movements are under constant Chinese supervision. They live in fear of harassament and detainment by Chinese authorities.


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