Saturday, 21 June 2008

Olympic Torch in Lhasa; Tibet, the Story that won't go away

So the Torch has been paraded through the streets of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa by the Chinese authorities. Pictures are hard to come by except from the state controlled Chinese media but this one from yesterday may explain the lack of protest.

Another factor was that ordinary Tibetans had been ordered to stay indoors and could only come out and cheer if they had been given a special pass! Read More..........

One of the reasons that it is so difficult to get independent news from Tibet is that the Chinese government rigorously controls access to the country. The following is quoted from the China Daily's section for visiting Tibet

"Papers required for foreigners for Tibet travel
Four pieces of information are necessary for foreign tourists traveling to Tibet, a valid passport, a valid visa, a Tibet Entry Permit (TTB Permit) and an Alien Travel Permit (PSB Permit). Those coming from Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR must also carry these four documents. However, journalists and people that may be involved in political matters are not included in this, for they must travel to Tibet under arrangements made by the Foreign Affairs Office of the Tibet government."

"Using Tibet for a propaganda opportunity such as the Olympic torch relay - while sealing it to independent investigators - is both unconscionable and reckless," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

For an in depth article on the Chinese crackdown read this excellent piece from the "Globe and Mail". It does all rather make you ask what are these wonderful ideals that the Olympics are supposed to represent and that have to be so vigorously protected from protesters calling for democratic freedoms.

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