DHARAMSHALA, July 21: Chinese authorities in Samey-shi village located in Gumong Township, in the so called Qinghai Province in eastern Tibet cancelled a major Buddhist ceremony on July 19 and ordered the return of approximately 10,000 of disciples who had gathered to attend the teachings of Kyabje Athi Kalsang Tashi Gyatso that was scheduled from July 20 to July 24, according to information received by Tibet Times, a Tibetan-language news outlet based in Dharamshala.
According to the report, the Tibetan lama who had travelled to the region to preside over the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) initiation was also forced to return by the local officials and police. The organisers of the Kalachakra teachings were detained and interrogated, the report further stated.
A source in Tibet cited by Tibet Times said that following the cancellation of the teaching, the Kalachakra sand mandala was desecrated by throwing water on it, despite attempts to stop it by devotees. The same source also said the five-day teaching was organised after getting the necessary permissions from the Chinese government, however, the sudden cancellation of the Kalachakra teaching has shocked devotees who had travelled from various parts of Tibet and local Tibetans raising around 200,000 yuan ($27,000) for the religious event.
The information obtained by Tibet Times also confirmed that the situation escalated when the local Tibetans carried out a peaceful protest at the site requesting the local Chinese authorities not to intervene and allow them to continue with the ritual ceremony. The demonstrators were later stopped and subsequently beaten by the Chinese security forces before being sent back to their respective places.
The statement from another source expressed concern and condemned China’s actions stating, “The Chinese government had initially given permission for the Kalachakra teachings to take place, but then they unexpectedly cancelled the event and prevented it from happening. This sudden change in decision proves that religious freedom is undermined and violated in the region.”
The cancellation of the Kalachakra teaching in occupied Tibet by China raises serious concerns about religious freedom in the region and highlights the ongoing struggle of the Tibetans to freely practice their religion.