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Tibetans all over the world celebrated their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama's 81st birthday on July 6, 2016.

While Tibetans in diaspora have always enjoyed the freedom to express their devotion and gratitude, with the exception of Nepal in recent years due to China's heavy influence, Tibetans inside Tibet consistently had to resist the local authorities and the government's policies to celebrate their beloved leader's birthday discretely.

In Lithang, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province (within the Traditional Tibetan province of Kham), Tibetans celebrated the Dalai Lama's 81st birthday at the Lithang monastery.

Penpa, a Lithang native from Drepung Monastery, South India tells VOA that the celebration took place around 8.30 am local time with the initiative of Tsenyi, Lithang monastery. In videos surfacing the net, a giant portrait of the Dalai Lama can be seen displayed on a chair with prayer lamps, where the monks held a long live prayer session till noon, followed by lunch and celebratory dances by local Tibetans till 5pm.

According to the same source, this year's celebration in Lithang received less control and scrutiny from the security officers compared to last year during the Dalai Lama's grand 80th birthday celebration, where all means of communication were blocked prior to the event.

However, this year, a few days before the celebration, the local authorities had summoned a meeting in which they instructed the representatives from the monasteries to keep the celebration small and to make sure pictures or videos of the event does not get out.

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