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Rights Group: China Restricts Foreign Media During Olympic Flame Relay in Tibet and Xinjiang

The international media rights group Reporters Without Borders is accusing China of breaking its promise to the International Olympic Committee to give the media access to events prior to the Olympic games.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Paris-based group said China prevented reporters from covering the Olympic torch relay in Tibet and the far-western Xinjiang region during the past week.

The group notes that only a few reporters were allowed to travel to cover the relay in Tibet's capital of Lhasa and Xinjiang's Urumqi and Kashgar. Reporters who were able to cover the event said they had been prevented from talking to locals and their movements were recorded by plainclothes police.

China closed Tibet and other Tibetan areas to journalists after the region was hit by violent unrest in March.

Just before the torch arrived in Xinjiang, Chinese authorities warned people to stay at home and watch the event on television, citing concerns for their safety.

Reporters Without Borders says only 50 reporters were allowed to go to Lhasa and the majority of those journalists were handpicked from media outlets in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.