China Closes Tibet to Foreigners Ahead of Anniversary

July 1 marks the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and to prepare for the festivities, the government is barring all foreigners from traveling to Tibet. From Reuters:

China, sensitive to instability or any other perceived threat to one-party rule, is wary of foreigners in its ethnic border areas, which it calls “autonomous regions,” especially ahead of politically charged anniversaries.

“It’s a new rule because of the 90th anniversary celebration,” a travel agent at a major Western hotel in Tibet’s capital Lhasa told Reuters, requesting anonymity. “Even with a tour group, foreigners cannot come.”

A Beijing-based travel agency said it was notified months ago that foreigners would not be allowed in Tibet during July but hoped that the restriction would be eased in time for important Tibetan festivals in August.

“We had to make a lot of cancellations, but we don’t know the reasons behind it. Perhaps it has to do with something political,” the Beijing-based travel agent said by telephone.


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