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Rights Groups Says Tibetan Areas Closed, Despite China's Post-Quake Openness བོད་སྐད།


A Western human rights group has called on China to provide the same media access to Tibetan regions as it has to other areas hit by the devastating May 12th earthquake.

Reporters Without Borders welcomed China's relative openness in the quake zone. But the group said foreign correspondents are still being turned away from Tibetan areas, including some areas affected by the quake.

The Paris-based organization said the Chinese government is trying to prevent journalists from reporting on a crackdown in the Tibetan areas.

Chinese authorities have reported quake casualties in areas of Sichuan province with large Tibetan populations, including Aba (Tibetan: Ngaba, which contains the quake epicenter) and Ganzi (Tibetan: Kardze) prefectures. Both areas experienced Tibetan protests earlier this year.

An Indian-based rights group last week reported that police fired on a peaceful protest by Tibetan Buddhist nuns in Ganzi.

The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy has reported small demonstrations by Tibetan nuns and their subsequent arrests in Ganzi in recent weeks. There has been no official confirmation of the incidents, and independent reporting in the region is restricted.

Last week, Beijing-based Tibetan dissident Tsering Woeser -- a source of independent information on Tibetan protests -- reported that she had come under cyber-attack. Woeser said someone locked her out of an Internet phone service and is using her account to contact confidential sources.

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