China has issued a public notice which stated that Tibetan pilgrims visiting India and Nepal for their annual pilgrim should immediately return home. The order was reportedly issued by a local government in China’s Sichuan Province for Tibetan pilgrims who are currently in Bodh Gaya, India and Nepal.
The RFA reported that hundreds of travelers have been forced to cancel their plans and give His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s teachings a miss. “The recall order was for all Tibetans living in those counties under Sichuan province, predominantly the Kham area, such as Dege, Minyak and probably all other counties,” RFA quoted a Tibetan living in Nepal as saying.
Tibetan businessmen fear that if the orders are not followed, it could lead to their passports being revoked by the government. “But the Chinese government in several counties in eastern Tibet have issued a public notice, which stated that Tibetans who are on pilgrimages in India and Nepal, and those who are there to visit family and relatives, had to return at the earliest time. If they failed to return home on the given deadline, they would face consequences,” the source said.
RFA said that the development was confirmed by a Tibetan living in Tawu country who saw the official order and witnessed many pilgrims who abruptly had to return home. “Pilgrims from those counties had been compelled to stop midway during the ongoing teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and forced to return home. The Chinese government issued the same order to several other counties in eastern Tibet,” Radio Free Asia quoted the source as saying.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is currently in Bodh Gaya. The World Heritage Site sees a massive inflow of tourists in the form of travellers, researchers and most significantly Buddhist pilgrims from East Asian countries. China has been reportedly revamping mountains to draw Budhhist pilgrims away from India which has a deep historical connection with Buddhism.