• Thank the bold journalists who pierce the Chinese blackout of Tibet

    Thank the bold journalists who pierce the Chinese blackout of Tibet

    In recent weeks, several independent journalists have taken bold actions to pierce the blackout imposed by Chinese authorities in Tibet. Chinese officials have announced the formal closure to foreigners of the Tibet Autonomous Region from February 20 to March 31, 2012. They have also closed off Tibetan areas in Sichuan and Qinghai provinces that have seen protests and self-immolations. (See the Reporters Without Borders report, Tibet Cut Off From the Rest of the World).

    At the same time, state-run Chinese media have placed stories that seek to portray normalcy in Tibetan areas. Chinese officials simultaneously criticize Western reporters for distorting the “real” situation in Tibet and deny them access to Tibet to judge first hand the real situation in Tibet.

    The following is a list of the journalists who have recently taken creative and even risky steps to get around Chinese roadblocks and other obstacles in order to report from Tibetan areas. Included are links to their stories.

    Action: Please take a moment to thank these journalists for acting with determination to provide first-hand, accurate reporting on the current situation inside Tibet. Twitter and or e-mail handles provided.

    [SkyNews' Holly Williams] China: Immolations Are Terrorism In Disguise (with video)
    March 6, 2012
    Dominated by Kirti Monastery, a sprawling complex that houses several hundred Buddhist monks, Aba has now been swamped by Chinese paramilitary police… After leaving Aba the Sky News crew was detained by police who forcibly searched bags and deleted files from an audio recording device. They temporarily confiscated a computer and camera, threatened to revoke Chinese visas and then followed the car for 300 kilometres (187 miles).
    Contact: Twitter: @SkyHWilliams

    [AP’s Gillian Wong] Under lockdown: Life inside dissident Tibetan town
    March 1, 2012
    Earlier this week, an Associated Press reporter managed to get through several checkpoints along the road leading to Aba, for a rare glimpse of a town that has been under lockdown for more than three years, as well as an apparent uptick in security this week ahead of sensitive anniversaries.
    Contact: Twitter: @gillianwong, E-mail:

    [NPR’s Louisa Lim] On Tibetan Plateau, A Sense Of Constant Surveillance
    February 22, 2012
    Wednesday marks the traditional Tibetan New Year, but many Tibetans won't be celebrating. They'll be mourning the almost two-dozen people who set themselves on fire in the past year as a protest against Chinese rule. Eyewitnesses say the town of Aba, site of many of the self-immolations, resembles a Chinese military camp, with soldiers and riot police every few feet. NPR's Louisa Lim traveled elsewhere on the Tibetan plateau to cover the story and sent this dispatch.
    Contact: Twitter: @limlouisa

    [Sydney Morning Herald’s Philip Wen] Inside story: Tibetan discontent smoulders
    February 18, 2012
    Stepping foot on the main street in the small town of Aba, you cannot shake the ominous feeling that your every move is being watched. Heavily armed police are set up at every intersection. Security personnel holding spiked clubs stand guard beside army trucks full of soldiers in riot gear. Roadblocks cut off the town at both ends, with every vehicle entering and leaving the town closely monitored and identity cards routinely checked.
    Contact: Twitter: @PhilipWen11, E-mail:

    [McClatchy Tom Lasseter] Rare visit to remote Chinese region shows depth of Tibetan despair
    February 14, 2012
    McClatchy Beijing Bureau Chief Tom Lasseter snuck into Ngaba to try to verify the situation inside.
    Contact: Twitter: @TomLasseter, E-mail:

    [The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts] Inside Tibet's heart of protest (with video)
    February 10, 2012
    On the streets of Aba, ranks of paramilitary police armed with guns, batons and spiked clubs keep a watchful eye on Buddhist monks in crimson robes. After a 10-hour drive across the Tibetan plateau, Jonathan Watts was able to get into the town undetected and witness how the authorities are trying to extinguish dissent with fire engines, riot police and patriotic 're-education' campaigns.
    Contact: Twitter: @jonathanwatts

    [BBC News’ Michael Bristow] China lock-down seals off Tibetan unrest (with video)
    February 9, 2012
    It is difficult to find out exactly what is going on. On a journey into Tibetan areas the BBC was turned back, detained and hassled by China's security forces.
    Contact: Twitter (his employer): @BBCNews

    [CNN Stan Grant] CNN Crew detained amid Chinese Tibet crackdown (with video)
    January 31, 2012
    It's after 10 p.m. when we see a light in the distance. We've traveled for more than three hours up a windy, icy road in western China.
    Contact: Twitter: @StanGrantCNN

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