Hundreds of Tibetans held an all-day mass pray-in Wednesday at the Nangchen county center grounds in Yushu prefecture of Qinghai province, according to VOA Tibetan sources from China.
About 500 Tibetans, mostly young lay people, in traditional Tibetan dresses, ate traditional Tibetan food Tsampa and carried incenses as they chanted prayers and slogans for long life of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Armed security forces have been deployed in the area but no conflict has been reported.
In a separate incident today at Kagyu Temple in Nangchen, few hundreds gathered in a similar pray-in and ate Tsampa in a symbolic gesture of sadness, resilience and strength, sources told VOA Tibetan. Armed security forces allegedly surrounded the area but did not break the vigil.
The day of the massive Tibetan vigil falls on a Lhakar day (white Wednesday), which has become a growing non-violent movement for creative expression of self-identity and self-empowerment for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet since its emergence after 2008 Tibetan unrest.
Tibetans in exile are observing worldwide vigil today for Tibet to show solidarity with the Tibetans in Tibet. The elected prime minister of the global Tibetan exile community, Lobsang Sangay last month called for a worldwide vigil today to protest reports of violence against Tibetans in China's Sichuan province. He accused China of killing six Tibetans by "firing indiscriminately" into crowds of peaceful protesters in Tibetan areas under Chinese control.
At least 21 Buddhist monks and nuns have set themselves on fire in the past year, mostly in southwestern China. The most recent incident took place today in Ngaba, (Chinese: Aba County, Sichuan Province).
China occupied Tibet in 1950. In the decades since, Beijing says it has brought modernity and development to the region. Tibetans say China is systematically flooding the region with non-Tibetan Chinese, who they say often discriminate against Tibetans in matters of governance and employment. They demand the return of spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who crossed into India in 1959.