Sorry folks, but Tibet will not be a part of China travel itineraries this March

by Fred Shasta
Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Updated: March 29th, 2011 | Comments
We hope you weren't planning a trip to Tibet this month or, perhaps, the next. Apparently, the Rooftop of the World is too cold and crowded. Indeed, Chinese officials appear to be so deeply concerned about the comfort of foreign tourists that they are suspending access to the "Tibetan Autonomous Region" because, as the Onion China Daily puts it:
The temporary measures on restricting foreign tourists to Tibet were mainly due to the current cold winter weather, limited accommodation capacity and safety concerns, a high-ranking official said here Monday. The plateau region is still in deep freeze in March and lots of religious activities will be held. Local authorities do not hope there is something wrong with foreign tourists, said Zhang Qingli, Party chief of Tibet, while attending the annual parliament session in Beijing. In addition, many people are going to Tibet now to prepare for a grand ceremony conmmemorating the 60th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, which brings great pressure to the limited number of hotels in the region, Zhang said. (Read the rest of "Tibet temporarily restricts foreign tourists for safety")
We firmly do not share the hope, of course, that "there is something wrong with foreign tourists," and we are quite touched by the depth of respect shown for both Tibetan religious activities (no cameras, please!) and the wave of enthusiasm for the big "peaceful liberation" party that is sweeping the People's Republic. It sounds like a lot of fun. We are, however, a bit worried about all the people going there for the big "conmmemoration," what with the deep freeze and all. Anyway, all botched propaganda points and impotent snark aside, you'll have to put off your trip to Tibet if you had one in mind. Once this current wave of control freakery passes, we're quite sure Tibet travel permits will once again be granted. In the meantime, consider visiting parts of historical Tibet that are presently parts of the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan and Gansu if you would like to experience something of Tibetan culture. Dress warm!
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