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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."

China says Tibet still off-limits to foreigners

June 14, 2008

Thomson Financial/AFP
June 12, 2008

BEIJING (Thomson Financial) -- Tibet remains closed to foreign
journalists and tourists, China's foreign ministry said Thursday
nearly four months after unrest broke out in the region.

"Due to the violent incident in Lhasa on March 14, at present (the
regional capital) Lhasa and all of Tibet are still not open to the
outside world," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told journalists.

"But the responsibility should not fall on our shoulders," he said,
blaming "the Dalai clique."

China refers to the "Dalai clique" as the coterie of officials that
form the exiled government of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Beijing has blamed them for fomenting the deadly March riots in Lhasa
and other Tibetan-populated regions around China, and accused them of
waging an independence campaign to sabotage the August Beijing Olympics.

Exiled Tibetan leaders say more than 200 Tibetans died in the
crackdown on the protests. China denies those allegations and says
Tibetan "rioters" were responsible for 21 deaths.

Critics of the Chinese government have accused it of sealing off
Tibet so it can conduct its security crackdown without foreign witnesses.

Qin said that once stability was restored to Tibet, the government
would consider allowing foreign journalists to enter the Himalayan region.

The Olympic torch was originally scheduled to travel through Tibet
for three days next week -- accompanied by foreign reporters -- as
part of its relay ahead of the Beijing Games.

But organisers have said the leg would be shortened to just one day
as part of a rescheduling due to last month's deadly earthquake in
Sichuan province.

Despite repeated requests, they have not disclosed when the Tibet
relay leg will happen or whether foreign reporters will be allowed to go.
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