A monastery in Lithang county, eastern Tibet. Photo: TPI

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Dharamshala, India — Chinese authorities have arrested more than 20 Tibetans from Lithang County in the Kham region of eastern Tibet around the 86th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which was celebrated on 6 July 2021.

According to a reliable source, Chinese authorities have detained at least 25 Tibetans, including 15 monks and 10 laypeople, in Lithang County, eastern Tibet, in July 2021, around the birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet.

The source said, "local Chinese authorities detained 15 monks from the Lithang Monastery and more than 10 laypeople from Lithang county, around the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on July 6, 2021, most of them are senior monks of the monastery, and they are from Nomadic place in Lithang".

"The Chinese government has banned celebrations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday in Tibet, including Lithang, while Tibetans celebrate his birthday in secret every year. Although the reason for the monks' detention is unknown, local Tibetans say it may be because of celebrating His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday, and talking about Tibetan issues with Tibetans outside Tibet," said the source, citing a source inside Tibet.

Another source told TPI, "these detained Tibetans posted and sent pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on social media (WeChat) before and during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday on July 6, 2021."

"Subsequently, the Chinese authorities detained them and kept them in police custody for more than 20 days. During their detention, the Tibetans were beaten by the Chinese authorities, most of them are released now," the source confirmed.

"Not only in Lithang and Wonpo counties, however, also in many other parts of Tibet, the Chinese authorities have detained and charged Tibetans under torture and at gunpoint, usually imposing harsh and long sentences on those who keep photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama," the source added.