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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibet cuts ticket prices to boost tourism after riots: state media

October 20, 2008

October 17, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) -- Tibet is cutting admission fees to key attractions
in an effort to boost tourism to the region after riots in March led
to a dramatic drop in visitor numbers, Chinese state media said Friday.

Admission fees at most scenic and cultural spots will be cut by half
from Monday to attract more travellers to the Himalayan region during
winter, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Plans to double admission fees to the Potala Palace, the former chief
residence of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, have
been scrapped, the report said.

Beijing barred all tourists from going to Tibet after a massive
government crackdown on violence that erupted in Lhasa on March 14
against Chinese rule, and then spread to other areas of western China
with Tibetan populations.

Chinese tour groups were allowed back in at the end of April, and
visitors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were subsequently given the
green light to go early May.

Foreign visitors, however, were only allowed back in at the end of June.

The number of tourists visiting Tibet in the first half of this year
fell 70 percent from the previous year, according to state media.

More than 340,000 travellers went to Tibet between January and June
this year, the official Tibet Daily newspaper said, a dramatic drop
from the same period in 2007 when over 1.1 million people visited.

It is the first time Tibet has reduced the price of tickets at nearly
all its tourist attractions, Xinhua quoted Wang Songping, deputy
director of the Tibet tourism bureau, as saying.

Wang had predicted early this year that visitor numbers would hit
five million in 2008, but the March riots and the subsequent
government clampdown put a stop to that.

The Dalai Lama says over 400 Tibetans died in the crackdown in Lhasa
alone, but China has reported police killing just one "insurgent" and
blames Tibetan "rioters" for the deaths of 21 people.
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