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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Statement from the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China

February 5, 2012

The Chinese authorities have set up a massive security cordon in an
attempt to prevent journalists from entering Tibetan areas in Western
Sichuan Province where major unrest – including killings and
self-immolations – has been reported.

The FCCC considers this a clear violation of China’s regulations
governing foreign reporters, which allow them to travel freely and to
interview anyone prepared to be interviewed.

Correspondents attempting to travel to the region in question have
faced major obstacles, including detention by the police and
roadblocks at which they have been stopped and turned back by
officials who have then forcibly escorted them back to Chengdu. “Bad
roads” and “weather” are being used as excuses for denying
correspondents entry to the area.

One team reported that their car was suspiciously rammed by another
vehicle. Reporters have been followed, questioned for hours, asked to
write confessions and had their material confiscated.

Police have been asking to inspect not only the documents that foreign
reporters are normally required to carry with them – their passports
and press cards – but also the small pink and yellow slips of paper
entitled “Registration Form of Temporary Residence”. We advise members
to carry these documents in their passports to help avoid being
detained.

Journalists are merely trying to do their job and independently
confirm the truth of reports from the area. We call on the Chinese
government to recognize our purely professional motivation and to
abide by its own regulations that allow us to enter the areas in
question.


Some Additional Examples:

After travelling for more than three hours, a broadcast crew was
stopped on the road by the police and forced to go back to Chengdu. At
the capital, they were watched as they interviewed Tibetan monks.
Their driver’s family received threatening phone calls. The crew was
followed on their way to the airport. When they were about to pass
airport security, they were detained by police and then escorted to an
airport police station where they were questioned for five hours. Some
of their recorded material was confiscated by the police.

Two journalists reached Danba Town in Ganzi. They then tried to reach
a monastery 20 kilometres out of town travelling in a taxi. The taxi
was stopped at a roadblock. The driver was told he could not continue
and that journalists should leave the area. When police said that the
reporters were not being detained they decided to try and walk to the
monastery. They walked for around 7 to 8 kilometres and were followed
by a car as well as two officials on foot. The reached a Tibetan
village where the police agreed to let them take photographs on the
condition that they would then return to Danba. The journalists agreed
and returned as requested. In Danba they were followed and later
decided to return to Chengdu.

A reporter on his way to Ganzi Prefecture was stopped at a police
checkpoint and turned away. “There is thick ice ahead,” the police
said.

Two reporters tried on three separate days to reach Ganzi and/or Aba
Prefectures. On each occasion they were stopped by the police and
forced to drive back to Chengdu. At one point, in an ethnic Tibetan
part of Chengdu, they were surrounded by a group of police. Their IDs
were checked and they were told they were not allowed to conduct
interviews there. A photographer was asked to erase pictures already
taken but refused. They were followed in Chengdu by plainclothes
police.

Last November a journalist was able to reach Tawu nunnery, where one
of the self-immolations happened. She was able to stay there for about
six hours. At the end of the day she was detained by police on her way
to another Tibetan monastery. She was forced to leave the area because
“the situation is now dangerous for foreigners”. She was followed by
police as she drove 200 km out of Tawa to Kangding “in pitch darkness
and along snowy and winding roads”.
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