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China detains hundreds of Tibetans returning from Buddhist ceremony in India: Report

Beijing, Sun, 08 Apr 2012 ANI

Beijing, Apr 8 (ANI): Hundreds of Tibetans who attended a Buddhist ceremony in India in January have reportedly been detained by Chinese forces without any charge on their return to Tibet.

Chinese authorities have detained large numbers of Tibetan pilgrims returning from the ceremony known as the Kalachakra, held regularly in India among other places, for the first time.

Many of the pilgrims are elderly and have been detained for more than two months in central Tibet, or the Tibet Autonomous Region.

According to people who have researched the detentions, the detainees are being interrogated and undergoing patriotic re-education classes, and have been ordered to denounce spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who presided over the ceremony.

The detainees are being held at hotels, schools and military training centers or bases, and some are being forced to pay for their lodging and meals, The New York Times reports.

According to the paper, the pilgrims were detained at checkpoints while returning overland via Nepal or while flying into Tibetan capital Lhasa.

The Kalachakra ceremony, an important teaching ritual in Tibetan Buddhism, takes place in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.

It is unclear why Chinese officials allowed large numbers of Tibetan pilgrims to go abroad around the time of the Kalachakra, only to detain them upon their return.

According to the paper, the crackdown appears to be part of the growing conflict in Tibetan areas, which in the last year have been the site of the most intense and sustained protests against China's religious and political suppression. (ANI)

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