China organizes media tour to western provinces
Monsters and Critics[Tuesday, April 08, 2008 13:17]

Hanging from the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Monday, April 7, 2008, a demonstrator holds up a sign that reads "No Olympic Torch in Tibet" as another holds up a Tibetan flag during a protest of China's human rights record and the impending arrival of the Olympic torch. ((AP Photo/Paul Sakuma))
Hanging from the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Monday, April 7, 2008, a demonstrator holds up a sign that reads "No Olympic Torch in Tibet" as another holds up a Tibetan flag during a protest of China's human rights record and the impending arrival of the Olympic torch. ((AP Photo/Paul Sakuma))
Beijing: Eleven foreign journalists are scheduled to depart Tuesday for an area in western China that saw pro-Tibetan riots in recent weeks on a tour organized by China's Foreign Ministry.

This second tour for foreign media will fly to Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, where more than 1,000 Buddhist monks led anti-government protests.

At the end of March journalists were taken on a highly regimented three-day trip to Lhasa. Their tour was interrupted by 30 monks at Jokhang Temple, considered Tibetan Buddhism's most sacred site, shouting about the lack of freedom in Tibet and denying China's claims that the Dalai Lama fomented the riots of two weeks ago.

The exact itinerary of the media tour through Friday was not confirmed, but possible stops include Xiahe city and Labrang monastery.

Foreign correspondents have been banned from traveling to the Tibetan Autonomous Region as well as the western provinces of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan, shortly after pro-independence demonstrations and unrest began in Tibetan areas on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

The protests escalated into rioting on March 14 in Lhasa.

The Chinese government has said 19 people were killed in the violence in Lhasa but the Tibetan government-in-exile said about 140 people were killed, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.

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