Thousands of Tibetans welcomed Rinchen Wangmo, daughter of the late Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking Lama after the Dalai Lama in the Gelukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, during her visit to Lhasa on June 20, 2013.
Since the 2008 Tibetan uprising, when large scale protests and demonstrations erupted against China’s repressive policies in Tibet and Tibetan regions in neighboring Chinese provinces, Lhasa has been under a constant security clampdown. The large crowds that gathered to welcome Wangmo are therefore both unusual and unexpected since strict controls on the movement of Tibetans into and within the city are in place as part of the security measures.
Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world, standing at an altitude of 3,490 meters, and the second most populous city on the Tibetan plateau after Xining. The city contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang temple, and Ramoche temple. It was at one of these sites, the Tsuklagkhang temple, where thousands of Lhasans converged to welcome the Panchen Lama’s daughter despite attempts by the authorities to keep her visit a secret.