Posts Tagged ‘jasmine revolutions’

Will Tibet see a “Facebook” demonstration in March?

March 7, 2011

On 15th March 1959, the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet, on foot from Lhasa, and reached India on 31st March. It was also last year on March 14th when Tibet saw the most wide-spread protests and demonstrations in over 20 years. Demonstrations also took place in 2008 and travel bans -especially of foreigners – to and in Tibet are a regular occurrence.


Now the Chinese Government is watching the developments in North Africa with a great deal of sympathy for the regimes which are being toppled. Foreign journalists, the internet, mobile networks and social media are being monitored very closely and any gathering is being quickly broken up throughout the country. Now the Chinese government has once again forbidden the visit of any foreigners to Tibet.

Chinese travel agents organizing trips to Tibet said Monday they have been ordered not to receive foreign visitors around the March 14 anniversary of a bloody anti-government riot in 2008.

Beijing Youth Travel Service saleswoman Li Jianyue said the order was conveyed verbally, as is often the case with official directives that the government does not wish to defend or explain. …. Tourists from outside the country were banned entirely for more than a year following the 2008 riots in Lhasa that left at least 22 people dead and set off a wave of protests across Tibetan areas of western China.

China responded with a massive military crackdown in which Tibetan rights groups say nearly 140 Tibetans were killed. China blamed followers of Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama for fomenting the disturbances, a charge the Buddhist leader denies.

Chinese officials announced plans to take a hard line with foreign journalists on Sunday, as Beijing braces against calls for Middle East-style popular protests.

Li Honghai, vice director of Beijing’s Foreign Affairs Office, said reporters must apply for government permission before gathering news within city centres, making explicit guidelines police began imposing more than a week ago.

Security crews have been closely watching journalists near sites in Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities, where anonymous Internet postings have been calling for residents to gather in peaceful protest.

Onlookers, media and heavy security gathered at proposed protest sites on Sunday, although no demonstrations have appeared since the posting began appearing online three weeks ago.

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