Travel agents organizing trips to Tibet say they have been ordered by Chinese authorities not to book foreign visitors ahead of the upcoming third anniversary of the 2008 unrest.
Agents interviewed by Western news agencies say the region's Chinese-controlled tourism bureau will not allow foreigners to visit the region during March. One tourist company in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, told the French news agency Monday that bookings for April have not yet been cleared. Another told VOA that travelers should plan on visiting in June.
China routinely limits foreign travel to Tibet, and requires overseas visitors to obtain special permits in addition to Chinese visas.
Beijing banned all foreigners from the region for more than a year, following 2008 protests in Lhasa which triggered unrest across other Tibetan areas in the western China. China says 22 people were killed in the protests when protests turned violent. But the Tibetan government-in-exile says Chinese security forces killed more than 200 Tibetan protesters in Tibet and adjoining areas during the crackdown.
China have accused Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the 2008 unrest. Tibetans in Tibet remain secretly loyal to their spiritual leader.