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February 26, 2009
Tibetan New Year
Trading fireworks for somber prayer, Tibetans marked the arrival of their new year with mourning as Chinese authorities sealed off Tibet and Tibetan regions in western China to foreigners. An unofficial Tibetan boycott of festivities Wednesday was in memory of last year's victims of a harsh Chinese crackdown on anti-government protests. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, said celebrations would be "inappropriate." At temples in Tibet's capital of Lhasa, rifle-toting Chinese paramilitary guards replaced crowds of pilgrims, and candlelight vigils were held instead of the usual merrymaking, Tibetan groups said. "The Chinese government is flooding Tibet with troops and attempting to force Tibetans to celebrate the New Year against their will..." Lhadon Tethong, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, said in an e-mail. -associated press     (19 images)

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Tibetans pray in a vigil to protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet on the first day of the Tibetan New Year in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 25. AP / Wally Santana


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Tibetan monks and supporters write "No Losar" or translated to "No New Year" in a vigil to protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet on the first day of the Tibetan New Year in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 25. AP / Wally Santana



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A Tibetan holds prayer beads during a candlelight vigil to protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet on the first day of the Tibetan New Year in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 25. AP / Wally Santana



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Tibetan monks head into a prayer hall during a ceremony to mark Tibetan New Year, at the Lama Temple in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. Tibetan New Year celebrations are expected to be muted this year, amid calls from activists for a boycott to mark the upcoming anniversary of the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. AP / Greg Baker



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Tibetan monks take part in a performance during the ghost banishing ceremony at the Lama Temple on Feb. 24, in Beijing, China. The event is a part of celebration for the Tibetan New Year which falls on Feb. 25. Getty Images / Guang Niu



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A Tibetan monk takes part in a Buddhist ceremony at the Lama Temple on Feb. 25, in Beijing, China. The event is a part of celebration for the Tibetan New Year which falls on Feb. 25. Getty Images / Guang Niu



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Two Tibetan monks chat as they wait to attend a Buddhist ceremony at the Lama Temple on Feb. 25, in Beijing, China. The event is a part of celebration for the Tibetan New Year which falls on Feb. 25. Getty Images / Guang Niu



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Tibetan monks hold a ceremony to mark Tibetan New Year, at the Lama Temple in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. Overseas activists have called for a boycott of Tibetan New Year celebrations to mark the upcoming anniversary of the crackdown on anti-government riots and protests in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. AP / Greg Baker



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Tibetan monks gather for a ceremony to mark Tibetan New Year, at the Lama Temple in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. AP / Greg Baker



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A Tibetan monk stands near masked performers during a ceremony to mark Tibetan New Year, at the Lama Temple in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. AP / Greg Baker



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A Chinese man looks at part of the exhibition titled "50th Anniversary of Democratic Reforms in Tibet Exhibition" in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. The exhibition, that opened on the eve of Tibetan New Year, was put on by the Beijing government to mark the anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet. AP / Elizabeth Dalziel



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Chinese security stands guard next to a Tibetan daily life display, shown as part of the exhibition titled "50th Anniversary of Democratic Reforms in Tibet Exhibition" in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. The exhibition, that opened on the eve of Tibetan New Year, was put on by the Beijing government to mark the anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet. AP / Elizabeth Dalziel



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Chinese are silhouetted against a photograph showing Tibetan farmers holding a picture of Chairman Mao as they marched during a Harvest Thanksgiving festival at an exhibition titled "50th Anniversary of Democratic Reforms in Tibet Exhibition" in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. The exhibition, that opened on the eve of Tibetan New Year, was put on by the Beijing government to mark the anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet. AP / Elizabeth Dalziel



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Buddhists line up to spin a prayer wheel during ceremonies marking Tibetan New Year's Day, at the Lama Temple in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. Overseas activists have called for a boycott of Tibetan New Year celebrations to mark the upcoming anniversary of the crackdown on anti-government riots and protests in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. AP / Greg Baker



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Buddhists burn incense on Tibetan New Yea's Day, at the Lama Temple in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Feb. 25. AP / Greg Baker



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Exiled Tibetans hold a portrait of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama as they shout slogans during a rally in Dharmsala, India, Tuesday, Feb. 24. A day before the start of the Tibetan New Year, more than 200 Tibetans took to streets in protest of the recent Chinese clampdown in Tibet. AP / Ashwini Bhatia



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Exiled Tibetan Buddhist monks beat ceremonial drums during early morning prayers to mark the first day of the Tibetan New Year at the Namgyal monastery in Dharmsala, India, Wednesday, Feb. 25. AP / Ashwini Bhatia



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A Tibetan monk sweeps near the wishing wheels inside a monastery near Hezuo, Gansu province, China, Saturday, Feb. 21. Monasteries were deserted and villages are subdued as Tibetan communities in western China chose not to mark the normally festive Tibetan New Year in a somber commemoration of failed uprisings against Chinese rule. AP / Andy Wong



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A woman sweeps at a quiet monastery near Hezuo, Gansu province, China, Saturday, Feb. 21. Monasteries were deserted and villages are subdued as Tibetan communities in western China chose not to mark the normally festive Tibetan New Year in a somber commemoration of failed uprisings against Chinese rule. AP / Andy Wong



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