www.TibetanReview.net, May 2, 2008
While Lhasa will reopen for foreign tourists on May 1, the beginning of May Day Holiday, both the TAR and other Tibetan areas will continue to remain out of bound for foreign reporters. Even in normal times, visas for entering China do not apply to the TAR. And although Western journalists now have greater access across China as a concession for the Beijing Olympics, this relaxation does not apply to the TAR.
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu confirmed on Apr 1 that the TAR was still closed for foreign journalists. The Macau Daily Times (Macau, China) Apr 2 cited her as promising to re-open Tibet, without giving any specifics.
“The measures in Lhasa now are a special arrangement under special conditions. The reason is not caused by us. We don’t want to see that. We hope the situation can return to normal at an early date,” Jiang was quoted as saying.
And despite the elapse on Mar 27 of a 10-day ban on foreigners entering a Tibetan area of Sichuan province, AP said Apr 2 that one of its reporters and a photographer were detained at a police checkpoint late Mar 31. An AP report Apr 4 cited an officer as saying the area may remain off-limits for foreigners until at least the end of Beijing Olympic Games.
In fact, while TAR has always been out of bound for Western media, it now appears that even the other Tibetan areas hit by recent protest may remain off limit for foreign media until at least the end of Olympic Games, according to an AP report Mar 5, citing officials. “The foreign media twist the Tibetan story very much, so we need to completely forbid them from wandering around,” it quoted a foreign affairs official as saying.