Tibet Closed to Tourists
Chinese authorities have suspended permits to Tibet indefinitely, in the wake of two self-immolations in Lhasa.
If you were planning to head to Tibet any time soon, you’ll have to rethink your plans. The Chinese government has closed the region to foreign visitors, suspending permits indefinitely. Chinese nationals are still permitted to visit.
The closure comes just a few weeks after two Tibetans set themselves on fire in Lhasa. While self-immolations have occurred in other areas of Tibet—over the past year, there have been at least 34 such incidences in protest of Chinese policies regarding Buddhism and the exile of Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama—the two that took place on May 27 were the first to occur in the Tibetan capital. The incident occurred in Barkhor market, an area popular with both Tibetans and tourists.
China often closes Tibet to tourists during times of civil unrest, so it’s not particularly surprising that its borders have once again been shut. However, the timing in this case is particularly sensitive to both Tibetan and Chinese cultures: it coincides with the Buddhist festival of Saga Dawa, which began on June 4 this year—a day that also marked the 23rd anniversary of the tragic Tiananmen Square protests.