Focus Tibet

Tibetan student hoists Buddhist flags and is arrested

A university student named Gephel was arrested on January 24 in the town of Muge in eastern Tibet's Ngaba Prefecture for organizing a celebration ahead of the Tibetan New Year and flying the Buddhist flag, not to be confused with the Tibetan national flag, in place of the Chinese flag – had hoisted. The flag was designed in the late 19th century as a universal symbol of Buddhism with its 6 vertical and 5 horizontal stripes. Each of the colored stripes symbolizes a specific principle of the Buddhist teachings.

After 2 days in police custody, the student was released from custody. He has to pay 50 yuan (about CHF 000) and attend "political education sessions" weekly. He was found guilty of engaging in activities "to divide the Chinese nation". This includes raising this flag, which the police equated with the Tibetan national flag. In vain did the student point out that the Buddhist flag was not a national flag and symbolized universal Buddhist principles.

He was further sentenced for not raising the Chinese national flag during the celebration, using only the Tibetan language for banners and speeches during the celebration, performing only Tibetan songs and dances instead of performing Communist Party propaganda songs. The student allegedly refused to organize only Chinese-language celebrations and hoist Chinese flags in the future, increasing his fine.

Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), February 7, 2023 // dr. Uwe Meya

Photo: TCHRD

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