China closes Tibet to foreigners ahead sensitive anniversaries

China is preventing foreign travellers from entering Tibet from 30 January until 1 April 2019, in a further effort to crack down on possible dissent within Tibet.

10th March marks an important date for Tibetans all over the world: On 10 March 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans rose up against China’s illegal invasion and occupation of their homeland.

The 1959 uprising saw Tibet’s spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, flee to India for safety, where he continues to live, unable to return to his Tibetan homeland. This year marks the 60th anniversary.

Since widespread protests took place in Tibet in March 2008, Xi Jinping has closed Tibet to all foreign travellers from early February of each year.

“This is just the latest attempt by the Chinese authorities to control what information about Tibet reaches the outside world. It is a worrying sign that the government will stop at nothing to silence Tibetans in their struggle for human rights and freedoms,” said Gloria Montgomery, Director at Tibet Society UK.

Tibet is almost entirely closed to foreign journalists and diplomats and information about actual the human rights situation on the ground is difficult to obtain. Despite this, Freedom House, a US based NGO, has once again ranked Tibet as the second least free place in the world.

The denial of access to independent human rights monitors by the Chinese authorities, including UN human rights experts, journalists and government officials continues to be a main priority for Chinese authorities.

Tibet Society UK has been working closely with Parliamentarians in the UK to press for the need for urgent and unfettered access for independent human rights monitors to Tibet.