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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?"

Tourists Returning to Tibet Despite Heavy Security

April 24, 2009

April 22, 2009

BEIJING (AFP) -- Visitor arrivals in Tibet rose
12 percent over the past six months, state media
said Wednesday, despite a security clampdown
during the anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

More than 430,000 tourists visited the remote
Himalayan region from late October 2008 to late
March, up 12 percent year on year, Xinhua news
agency said, quoting the region's tourism authority.

The tourism body, which credited a winter
price-cutting campaign for the increase, gave no comparative figures.

China's central government banned travellers from
going to Tibet immediately after riots marking
the 49th anniversary of the failed revolt in
Lhasa and neighbouring regions in March last year.

Though the ban was later relaxed, tourism had
suffered significantly from the security crackdown.

Xinhua last month quoted the mayor of Lhasa as
saying that only 1.4 million people came to the
city in 2008, a 51 percent drop from the year earlier.

Authorities tightened their clampdown on Tibet
and adjacent areas again in recent months to
prevent unrest during last month's 50th
anniversary of the 1959 revolt that caused the
Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, to flee into exile.

Tour agencies told AFP that foreign travellers
were banned as the anniversary approached.

China later said foreigners were permitted to
apply to visit Tibet once again on April 5.

Official statistics show visitor arrivals in
Tibet hit nearly 2.25 million in 2008, down 44
percent, with tourism revenue more than halving
from the previous year, Xinhua said.
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