Tibet briefly off limits

This item appears on page 22 of the April 2009 issue.

Anticipating possible demonstrations, China detained scores of locals, questioned thousands more and closed many regions of Tibet to tourism prior to March 10, 2009, the 50-year anniversary of the Tibetan uprising when the Dali Lama was forced to flee.

Tourist agencies were contacted by Chinese officials and told that no permits would be issued for Tibet nor for three surrounding provinces where ethnic Tibetans live. The closure extended throughout March and would possibly continue into April.

Related riots and violent protests in March 2008 led to at least 22 deaths in the crackdown that followed. Tibetan activists claim that many times that were killed. 

June 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, when the military bloodily crushed the pro-democracy movement in Beijing.