Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Journalists barred from hotels in Tibetan areas

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by Henry MORTON

Latest update : 2009-11-16

After easing restrictions during the 2008 Olympics, Chinese authorities are again clamping down on foreign journalists, barring them from talking to Tibetans and blocking them from hotels, says FRANCE 24's Henry Morton in western China. .

 

"I’m afraid the police have told us we cannot let you stay in our hotel. You will have to find somewhere else,” we’re told by the assistant manager of one of the larger hotels in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, which borders Tibet.

 

 

“The police have put a lot of pressure on us, and you have to leave,” the manager of the hotel clarifies.

 

Sichuan is home to a large ethnic Tibetan community, and security measures have intensified in the last few weeks, to prevent a repeat of last year’s violence which marked the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising and subsequent flight into exile in Northern India by the Dalai Lama. This year is the 50th anniversary of that uprising and, not only are authorities determined to see it pass trouble free, they are also determined to make sure that if there is any trouble, foreign media are not able to report it. They have gone to such lengths as to order most hotels in Chengdu not to accept reservations from foreigners - and from our team in particular.

 

Since arriving in Chengdu on Monday, we have been stopped several times by the authorities, and expressly told not to film or interview any Tibetans. Armed police and roadblocks greet visitors to the Tibetan quarter of the city, which is off-limits to foreigners at night, and checkpoints block passage to Tibetan areas of Sichuan and beyond to Tibet itself. Vehicles entering Chengdu, from elsewhere in the province, are routinely checked for explosives.

 

“Our chief of security has daily meetings with the police at the moment, and we have to send them details of everyone who checks in,” we’re told by the expat director of a large international chain hotel in Chengdu. “They have also asked me not to leave the hotel at night for safety reasons. It is the first time I have seen these types of precautions here.” And what about journalists coming to the hotel? “If you’re here for tourism, there’s no problem,” he jokes. “You know the police here can listen to your phone calls, read your e-mails and follow you in the street.”

 

Trying to slip under the net as a journalist in China is virtually impossible. It’s marked on the visa in your passport, and that information is sent to the police whenever you take a flight or check into a hotel. The rules were relaxed with the Olympics, and we are now able to travel around the whole country (with the notable exception of Tibet) and interview people without prior official consent.

 

However those rules can be reinstated on a whim, it would seem, and a foreign diplomat here tells us that the current security measures could remain in place until June, beyond the first anniversary of the earthquake in Sichuan.

 

The anniversaries of Tibetan resistance and the earthquake are both potential rallying points for dissent, which Beijing is determined to keep under tight control, as it looks to maintain stability and counter perceived separatist activities.

 

 

 

 

Date created : 2009-03-12

COMMENT(S)