Following a foreign media tour of Lhasa (notably disrupted by tearful Tibetan monks), the Chinese government issued a last-minute announcement yesterday that it would be taking foreign diplomats on a similar tour. The two-day trip was scheduled to start today (Friday). What surprises lurk for government handlers this time around? From AFP via Times of India:
“I suppose the objective of the Chinese foreign ministry is to basically answer the international calls including from the Australian government to have diplomatic access to Tibet,” said Janaline Oh, an Australian Embassy official.
She said Embassies in Beijing were only informed about the planned trip on Thursday, while an Italian Embassy spokeswoman said the representatives were expected back on Saturday night.
One diplomat said that the Embassies had been allowed to send one official each, although there was no official comment on the trip from Beijing and it was not clear how many countries were going or had been invited.
The Associated Press reports the US State Department had yet to receive an itinerary for the trip by Thursday but planned to ask for access to Tibetan areas outside Lhasa.