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Reporters Without Borders Condemns China Over Media Restrictions in Tibet


The media rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned China for preventing media coverage of recent demonstrations in Tibet.

RSF said in a statement released Monday that the freedom of movement for journalists was one of the few positive developments ahead of the Olympic Games. The press freedom organization said China is now preparing to crack down on the Tibetan revolt in the absence of witnesses.

Earlier, the president of the Foreign Correspondents Club in China, Melinda Liu, said that if China wants to give the world a more open and transparent image of itself, it should not interfere with reporting on the situation in Tibet.

Liu said two dozen reporters have been turned away from Tibetan areas including Lhasa and Xiahe in Gansu province, where protests have flared.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association says colleagues from six media organizations were ordered to leave Lhasa Monday just as a deadline loomed for rioters to turn themselves in.

China has cracked down on media coverage of the riots in Tibet, blocking foreign news broadcasts in the country at times as well as reports from Hong Kong news organizations. Internet access to YouTube, the video-sharing Web site, has also been blocked in China after video footage of the protests was posted on the site.

Ordinary citizens in Lhasa and even far away in the capital of Beijing are hesitant to discuss or comment on the crackdown with Voice of America or other foreign media organizations.

The Chinese government says 13 innocent people were killed during riots last week, but overseas Tibetan exile groups say 80 Tibetans and perhaps more were killed.

It is impossible to independently verify those numbers

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