Officials deny Dalai prayer claim

By Chen Heying Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-19 1:03:02

Aba, Sichuan authorities dismiss Web suspension report

An official in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, said Thursday authorities have no knowledge that local Tibetans have been conducting private prayers for the health of the Dalai Lama.

Ethnic Tibetans in Aba county of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan and in Guinan county of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Northwest China's Qinghai Province have been praying in secret for the speedy physical recovery of the Dalai Lama, Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted Tibetan sources as saying on Wednesday.

The Dalai Lama traveled to the US in January to receive prostate treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, United Press International reported on January 19.

"We have yet to learn of private services so far while local Tibetans are busy celebrating the Tibetan New Year and the Monlam Prayer Festival," Jiang Gang, head of the publicity department in Aba county, told the Global Times on Thursday.

A majority of Tibetans attend religious services - such as sutra chanting - in local monasteries to pray for a bumper harvest in the new year, which is irrelevant to politics, Jiang said.

When reached by the Global Times on Thursday, Zhang Shengjun, deputy head of the publicity department in Guinan county, also said he was not aware of any private prayer services.

Some Tibetans in the areas in question have also held prayer services via mobile messaging app WeChat, RFA reported. Although authorities have cut off Internet service in Aba for some time, locals were aware that the Dalai Lama had undergone treatment in the US, according to RFA.

Jiang denied that Internet service has been occasionally suspended in Aba county, explaining that it is futile to cut Internet service since such a step cannot prevent the spread of information about the exiled spiritual leader in the county, which borders Qinghai and Gansu provinces and therefore sees large incoming and outgoing flows of people.

Jiang also said the local Internet watchdog has yet to notice any online information about the services.

Posted in: Politics

blog comments powered by Disqus