Official sources: Lhasa to reopen for foreign tourists


Beijing – More than three months after it was shut to the outside world following the worst anti-government protests in two decades, the Tibetan Capital Lhasa would soon be reopened for foreign tourists, local officials said.

Lhasa which was thrown open to tour groups from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao recently would “accept” foreign tourists “very soon”, Vice-Mayor of Lhasa Chen Zhichang was quoted as saying here by the state media.

The reopening date would be announced after the Tibet legof the Beijing Olympic torch relay which would be held in Lhasa on Saturday, Jiang Ga, Director of the Lhasa Tourism Bureau, said.

Both officials did not say whether other parts of Tibet would also be reopened to foreign travelers at the same time, official Xinhua news agency said.

The torch relay is being carried in Lhasa for only a day in a change of plan to hold it for three days from June 19, following the devastating earthquake in southwest China on May 12.

Monks-spearheaded anti-government protests had broken out in Lhasa in March, throwing a serious challenge to the Communist leadership. The violence had caused deaths of 21 people, with China blaming the Dalai Lama for the unrest which also drew global attention to and brought more international pressure on Beijing on the Tibet issue ahead of the Olympics.