Beijing: Police in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa detained at least one person and broke up a gathering of hundreds burning incense in honor of the exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, a US broadcaster said Friday.
A Tibetan woman in her 40s was detained 14 March when 500 people in Lhasa gathered to burn incense in a ritual prayer of long life for the Dalai Lama, Radio Free Asia reported Friday, citing unnamed witnesses in the city.
The report called the mass gathering a “rare open display of opposition to Chinese rule.”
The mainland claims to have ruled Tibet for centuries, although many Tibetans say they were essentially an independent state for most of that time. Chinese communist troops occupied Tibet in 1951 and Beijing continues to rule the region with a heavy hand.
“Chinese security officials stepped in and blocked the Tibetans from participation,” the report quoted a witness as saying, without giving details.
The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India following an abortive 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.
China accuses the 71-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner of waging a clandestine campaign for formal independence, though he says he wants only greater autonomy in hopes of preserving Tibet’s Buddhist culture.