The Chinese authorities have reportedly expelled the last two foreign journalists in Tibet on Thursday 20th March. “A high-ranking functionary threatened us with the revocation of our Chinese visas,” said the German Georg Blume in a telephone interview from Lhasa before he and fellow German Kristin Kupfer were escorted to a train out of Tibet.
The China correspondent for the weekly German newspaper Die Zeit and the Berlin daily Taz, Blume, said he and Kupfer, a correspondent for the Austrian magazine Profil accredited in Peking, had resisted five days of police calls for them to leave the Himalayan region after demonstrations and violence broke out in Lhasa on 14th March.“We were told today in an intimidating manner that if we did not go now, we would encounter large problems, namely over our visas,” Blume said on Thursday in an interview with the BBC.Earlier a correspondent for the British Economist magazine was ordered out of Tibet and a number of Hong Kong journalists were also expelled on Monday.
Attempts by the German embassy and European Union (EU) ambassador in Beijing to persuade China to allow the journalists to stay were not successful.
The violence involving Tibetan demonstrators urging for Tibets independence and Chinese forces was touched off by the 49th anniversary of the failed uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule on 10th March.The central Chinese government has confirmed 13 deaths during the unrests in Lhasa, and the Tibetan government in exile said it had confirmed the death of at least 80 people there. Exile groups have also reported deaths in violence in other parts of Tibet as well as outside the region.
Valentin Jeutner (Germany, AC06-08)
– United World College Student Magazine –