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China tightens Tibet clampdown ahead of Uprising anniversary

(TibetanReview.net, Feb 13) – Faced with the prospect of a Tibetan boycott of celebrations marking the arrival of their Earth-Ox year 2136 on Feb 25 to be followed by possible unrest on the 50th anniversary of their national uprising day on Mar 10, thereby delivering an ignominious blow to its claim that Tibetans were entirely supportive of its rule, China has declared the Tibetan populated regions of Gansu, Sichuan, and Qinghai off-limits for foreign visitors, reported AP Feb 12.

It cited an official at the tourism office of Gansu province’s Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan (Tibetan: Kanlho), home to a major monastery, as saying the region was again closed to foreigners and would not be open until late March. The official did not say when the restrictions were put in place, the report added.

In Sichuan province, many areas open two weeks ago are now closed to foreign tourists until April, the report cited officials at the Ganzi (Tibetan: Karze) prefecture tourist bureau as saying. I said only three counties in that prefecture would remain open to foreigners.

The report noted that Qinghai province too had closed many areas to foreigners.

In the case of Tibet Autonomous Region, very tight restrictions remain in place while only trickles of foreign tourists could be seen, a fact noted by Reuters Feb 12 and some other foreign journalists taken on a rare and tightly controlled four-day tour (Feb 10-13) there by the Chinese government in Beijing. The report noted that on Feb 12, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu described the current situation in Tibet as “stable” but acknowledged that foreign reporters had had difficulty accessing the area. Several major international news organizations, including The Associated Press and BBC, were excluded.

The report noted that several journalists had reported being expelled from Tibetan-populated areas in the past week.

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