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Tibet-Driru-2013-303Dharamshala: - Sources coming out of Tibet say Chinese authorities in Driru County of eastern Tibet have reportedly forced Tibetans in Tsala township to celebrate a summer festival threatening them with arrests and imprisonment if they do not comply with the government order.

According to reports by various exiled media said Local Tibetans from Tsala township in Driru County have stopped celebrating the summer festival a few years back, in solidarity with the self-immolations that swept Tibet since 2009.

The sources said that "Chinese authorities ordered all Tibetans from Driru, including those who might be in other places currently, to gather and participate in the festival. Those who defy the diktat are threatened with punitive actions including imprisonment."

"The Tibetans have also been warned that if they fail to celebrate the festival, they would not be allowed to harvest and sell cordyceps fungus also known as caterpillar fungus next year," the source added.

Residents of Tsala township which include a cluster of nine villages, are heavily dependent on the harvest and sale of caterpillar fungus for their livelihood.

"We know that the Chinese authorities are forcing Tibetans to participate in the festival in an attempt to paint a happy picture of peace and prosperity under Chinese rule. The ground reality is completely different. However, they have no choice but to comply," the source further added.

Driru County has been the site of a series of protests against Chinese rule since defiant Tibetans refused to hoist Chinese national flags ahead of China's national day celebrations in 2013. Local Tibetans in Driru have also clashed with Chinese authorities over rampant mining in the region by Chinese companies.

"Tibetans in Tibet feel that, this repressive system is even more harsh than any other social system practiced in the world through centuries, including the Middle Ages. Ruled by such a system, Tibetans in their homeland have no political and social rights to speak of, and they were even deprived of their most basic personal freedoms and most fundamental right to subsistence," said Mr. Nyima T.J., A Tibetan political analyst.

"Instead of bringing about a long-lasting solution to the problems and working to meet the demands of the Tibetan people, this regime continues their hard-line approach to intimidate," he added.

Unlike in towns and cities in China, the regime recently have carried out campaigns to force Tibetans to fly Chinese flags from their homes, while led the Tibetan people live under constant suspicion and surveillance.

Human rights abuses in Tibet include restricted freedom of religion, belief, and association remains a top priority. A political analyst says, Tibetans still face arbitrary arrest and maltreatment in custody, including torture at the hands of Chinese authorities in their long lasting process of struggle for freedom.

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