Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, February 25, 2019

Foreigners not welcome (for now)

It's not just the Tiananmen protests that cause political jitters in Chinese authorities.

China bans foreign travellers from Tibet as 1959 uprising anniversary looms
China is barring foreign travellers from Tibet over a period of several weeks that includes a pair of sensitive political anniversaries questioning the legitimacy of Beijing’s rule over the Himalayan region…

The ban was confirmed by the online customer service portal of the Tibet Youth International Travel Service, as well as staff at the Tibet Vista and Go to Tibet travel agencies. Both are based in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the main jumping-off point for visits to Tibet…

March 10 is the 60th anniversary of an abortive 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, while anti-government riots occurred March 14, 2008, in the regional capital Lhasa.

Although the foreigner travel ban is an annual occurrence, the occasion of the 60th anniversary is drawing added attention…

The 1959 uprising resulted in the flight of Tibet’s traditional Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile in India and the start of increasingly harsh Chinese rule over the region. Nearly five decades later, anger exploded in a series of protests in an around Lhasa that culminated in attacks on Chinese individuals and businesses in which the government says rioters killed 18 people.

An unknown number of Tibetans were killed by security forces in the aftermath.

China claims Tibet has been part of its territory for more than seven centuries and regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

Some Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested against what they regard as China’s heavy-handed rule imposed after the People’s Liberation Army battled its way into the Himalayan region in 1950...

Despite the suffocating level of security, Tibet is an increasingly popular destination for tourists looking for mountain adventure and monuments to its unique Buddhist culture.

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