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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Macau, HK, Taiwan reporters conclude Lhasa trip, say much to write about in region

June 12, 2008

Macau Daily Times
June 9, 2008

"There is so much to write about," said Jia Lei, a reporter with the
Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao, when concluding his three-day
visit to Tibet.

At the invitation of the Information Office of the State Council,
China's Cabinet, Jia came to the plateau city on June 2. Another 30
reporters from 18 media in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau also joined
for the visit.

This was the second trip by journalists to cover stories on Lhasa,
following a similar three-day visit in late March with 19 media
organisations, including foreign reporters.

During the tour, the group talked with local officials, interviewed
monks and other religious people, and spent time with local residents.

In the community of Lugu, Drakpa Yonten, director of the
neighbourhood committee, told reporters the area was once-again
peaceful and people could now walk the streets and do their religious
services in the monasteries at any time.

"The place used to be one of the three biggest slums in Lhasa. But
the [annual] per capita income now has reached 5,700 yuan, 1.7 times
the Tibetan Autonomous Region average."

With Tibetans making up to 85 percent of the population in the area,
residents in the community had all been covered with health insurance
and the children were receiving the free nine year compulsory
education, he said.

The delegation then went to the Jokhang Temple, where tourists were
once again allowed to visit after May 16.

Ngawang, a management official with the temple, told reporters no
monk was punished after the March 14 Lhasa riot.

"All religious activities are going on as normal," he said.

In the Yichun Garments Store where five young girls were burnt to
death when the building was set on fire by rioters, Drolma, the only
sales girl to have survived the incident, told reporters she had lost
her closest companions. Her memory of March 14 was horrible.

In walking down the street where the Yichun store is located, ash and
black marks were still noticeable on more than 10 shops along the way.

"This was an attempted political conspiracy aiming to split the
country," said Lok Pou-wa, a Macau Daily News reporter.
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