Tuesday, September 12, 2006

China to Lift Restrictions on Travel to Tibet

As reported by Deutsche Presse Agentur on Tuesday September 12, 2006

Lhasa/Beijing -- Travel to Tibet will be eased on October 1 when the Chinese government will no longer require foreign tourists to have special permits to enter the highest region on Earth, according to Wu Jilie, vice-chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional government.

The government in Tibet will waive existing travel restrictions and open more areas of Tibet for tourism, the government official told journalists in Lhasa on Tuesday.

Wu Jilie confirmed that Tibet was still the poorest region of China and that tourism needed to be further developed to change that.

In July, China opened a new railway, the highest in the world, linking Beijing to Lhasa, that will ease the transport of tourists and goods into the remote region.

In the next decade several billion dollars are to be invested into Tibet, that will include links to India, Nepal and into western Tibet.

Critics say the main aim of Beijing is improving transport links is to facilitate Han Chinese settlers into the region to speed up the absorption of Tibet into China.