16
Aug
07

Tibetans Turn Festival Into Mute Protest Against China

The ceremonial wearing of animal fur has been raised to the status of a political issue in western China, since the Dalai Lama released a statement two years ago urging Tibetans to reject the longtime practice as inconsistent with Buddhism. Reportedly, the Dalai Lama was responding to complaints from Indian conservationists that Tibetans’ fondness for skins from tigers and other endangered species was hastening their disappearance.

As word of the Dalai Lama’s suggestion spread across western China, some Tibetan communities responded by publicly burning their furs, while others simply stopped using furs in ceremonies. This perceived act of obedience to a man whom the Chinese government has long vilified as a “splittist,” meaning secessionist, appears to have angered the authorities.

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