China: Tibetans to Celebrate New Year Amid Tension
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Tibetans braced to celebrate their traditional New Year called "Losar" tomorrow amid intensified crackdown by Chinese authorities against the self immolation protests which shook the Himalayan region in recent months.

Tensions prevailed in Tibet and its prefectures in the last several months over the recurring self-immolations against Chinese rule which Beijing alleges were being instigated by Dalai Lama "clique" to discredit it.

About 95 to 100 Tibetans committed immolation in recent months. Last November alone, 23 immolation cases were reported, coinciding with the once-in-a-decade leadership change of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

During the New Year, Tibetan experts release their calender based on various observations which is also derived from Indian traditions.

"The calendar is derived from the Indian calendar tradition, but has taken in elements from China's interior regions, too, such as the five elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal," said Kunga Rigzin an official of the Institute of astrology and calendar calculation, research body of the Lhasa-based Hospital of Tibetan Medicine told state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Calendar has 12 months in a year and every 60 years make a full cycle.

Whereas, the first Tibetan calendar is thought to have been produced in 1206.

Rigzin and his predecessors have given precise forecasts of solar and lunar eclipses, blizzards and earthquakes and their calculations have been praised by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, it said.

More than three lakh copies of the Tibetan calendar are printed every year.

The booklets, popular in Tibet and other Tibetan communities in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces, are also sold to Bhutan and Nepal.
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