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China closes Tibet to tourists PDF Print E-mail
[8 June 2012] The Chinese government has closed Tibet to foreign tourists for an indefinite period of time. The ban comes after two self-immolations in Lhasa on 27 May and is part of a large-scale crackdown which has seen numerous detentions and increased security patrols and surveillance.

Potala PalaceAccording to various news reports, travel agencies have been told by Chinese authorities to stop organising foreign group trips to the Tibet Autonomous Region as overseas tourists would not be given entry permits. There is no official word on how long the ban will last, though it has been speculated that it could last anywhere between one and three months.

Though there has been no official reason given for the ban, it comes just days after the first self-immolations took place in Lhasa and during the month-long Buddhist festival of Saga Dawa.

Jokhang TempleOn 27 May, two Tibetans set fire to themselves in front of the Jokhang temple (pictured right). Dorje Tseten died shortly after the protest, whilst his colleague Dhargye is believed to be in hospital. The incident was a continuation of the protests against China's rule over Tibet which has now seen 38 Tibetans self-immolate since February 2009.

In the days following the Lhasa self-immolations, numerous detentions have been reported, non-residents have been expelled from the city, military patrols have been stepped up and surveillance increased. Many communication lines to Lhasa have been cut or blocked, making it difficult to asses the full scale of the crackdown by the Chinese authorities.

Further reading: AFP (in BusinessWorld) I Phayul I Telegraph I Daily Mail

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