Tibetans widely resent Chinese rule, and Chinese leaders fear that Tibetans could seize on this month, the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising, to carry out a wave of protests, similar to what took place a year ago. Part of the mission of the security forces is to evict foreigners so that whatever occurs will be kept hidden from the world.
That, of course, has always been part of the problem with Tibet. China’s lockdown this month is only the latest episode in a long history of both Tibetans and Chinese trying to keep the mountain kingdom closed to the outside world. News of Tibet has always been difficult to obtain because much of the region lies on a remote plateau above 15,000 feet that is ringed by mountains. Information becomes that much harder to get when governments padlock the gate.
Drawing a veil over Tibet has only encouraged outsiders to project their own imaginings and desires onto the hidden land, sometimes with disastrous consequences.