March 16, 2011

These places will not see any foreigners for 3 months- Tibet

Location: Yarlung Valley, Tibet, China (29° 8′ 38.76″ N, 91° 48′ 0.72″ E)
Date: 26 May 2005; 10.45am
Camera: Canon 300D with kit kens

The Chinese government had done it again- they closed the province of Tibet to foreigners again! The closure this time is total- not even foreigners on packaged groups are allowed to enter Tibet for a period of three months. I have bemoaned how some places in Tibet are becoming a “once a lifetime” destination due to the now frequent and arbitrary closure to foreigners. The reasons given by the Chinese government this time are ostensibly“bad weather and insufficient supply of accommodation”. Well, the weather in China had not been bad until today and there were reports from the hospitality industry in Tibet expressing puzzlement at the so-called heavy demand on accommodation. In fact the real reasons are the anniversary of the Lhasa unrest three years ago and the timing of the convening of the parliament of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India. The government was trying to avoid leakage of any scenes of demonstrations or unrests of any kind that may result due to these events. While politically I have less of a problem regarding the so-called Tibetan issue, I do have lots of reservations regarding the governance and the iron-fist treatment of minority-dominated provinces such as Tibet and Xinjiang by the Chinese government.

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