By Lobsang Wangyal
ON THE WEB, 5 July 2019
Nepal has banned the Tibetans living in the country from celebrating the birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, to avoid offending the sentiments of their neighbour China.
On Friday, the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office in Kathmandu issued a notice stating that the Nepalese officials gave an order to cancel the birthday celebrations.
“A grand event had been planned at Lowa Monastery in Kathmandu, but now the official function remains cancelled,” the statements said.
The Dalai Lama, who turns 84 on Saturday the 6th of July, made a public appearance at a long-life offering ceremony in McLeod Ganj, in which he was requested to live a long time. The ceremony was sponsored by the former staff members of the Central Tibetan Administration, which was headed by him until 2011.
Exuding great health and spirits, the Dalai Lama expressed his feelings of confidence that he will live for more than 100 years.
With prayers and cultural performances, an official programme will be held to celebrate the 84th birthday at Tsuglakhang Temple in McLeod Ganj, the seat of the exile Tibetan Diaspora.
Member of Indian Parliament Kishan Kapoor will be the chief guest of the event. The entire Cabinet and the top leaders of the Central Tibetan Administration will be in attendance. President of the Administration Lobsang Sangay will give a speech on the occasion.
Nepal has in the past also prevented Tibetans from celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday, as well as other Tibetan cultural and political events, such as the 10 March Tibetan uprising anniversary and the Nobel Peace Prize for the Dalai Lama.
Since 1990 the country has also stopped recognising Tibetans fleeing from Chinese-occupied Tibet as refugees, and has stopped issuing any documents for them to live in the country.
China is Nepal’s biggest investor and donor for its various infrastructure. China is working on an ambitious China–Nepal railway linking Kathmandu with Shigatse in Tibet. It is being built on a priority basis, and the project could be completed in a few years.