China Bans Foreigners From Tibet

Lockdown after Tibetans self-immolate

Nick Davidson

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Chinese travel agencies are reporting that the government has banned all foreign visitors to Tibet after two men set themselves on fire at Lhasa’s Jokhang temple last week to protest Chinese rule. The two Tibetan protestors were taken away by paramilitary forces, and it is not known whether they lived. The Chinese National Tourist Office stopped issuing entry permits after the self-immolations, though Chinese nationals will still be allowed to travel freely. Travel agencies expect the ban to last at least through June and perhaps indefinitely. The lockdown comes as Tibetans begin the month-long Saga Dawa festival, which typically draws thousands of pilgrims and tourists. At least 34 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest since March 2011, but last week’s protests were the first of their kind in the city of Lhasa.

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