(TibetanReview.net, Dec 31) — China reiterated Dec 30 that foreign journalists would be welcome to visit and report on Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) even as the restrictions barring them from taking up that offer remain firmly in place. Indeed, while announcing the claimed welcome, Wang Chen, director of the State Information Office, told a press conference of the State Information Office that foreigners should follow some regulations of Tibet local government when entering Tibet and so does the foreign journalists, reported the Communist Party of China mouthpiece People’s Daily Online Dec 30.
Regarding the offer itself, Wang had said China “welcomes” foreign journalists to report on the TAR personally and would offer necessary help when needed. Wang did say, though, that the government of TAR would make greater efforts to simplify formalities for foreigners to visit Tibet and improve efficiency.
The comments were made in the context of the PRC marking its 60th founding anniversary and what Wang called the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform of the TAR in 2009. Tibetans will mark the year as the 50th anniversary of their uprising against Chinese rule.
Wang was cited as saying foreign journalists would be allowed to witness the anniversary with all Tibetan people and “the Chinese government is also happy to offer help when necessary”.
The report said a journalist group consisting of 19 media from home and abroad was “granted” to report on Mar 14 riot of Lhasa personally in the TAR after the violence occurred. But it was a tightly controlled and closely supervised visit and the fate of the Jokhang monks who sought to inform the foreign journalists about the real situation in the city remains unknown. Officials had claimed at the time that the monks would not be punished.