China starts winter tourism campaign in Tibet despite Covid upsurge

 Friday, January 6, 2023 

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As per reports, a winter tourism campaign has been commenced in illegally-occupied Tibet by Beijing despite the massive upsurge in Covid-19 infections. Tibet Rights Collective reported China’s announcement to reopen “iconic Potala Palace” in Tibet’s capital Lhasa after being closed for more than four months. Several other major religious tourist attractions in and around Lhasa were also reopened.
On January 1, a new round of a Winter Tour Campaign was launched by China to attract visitors to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) during the winter season, reported TRC.


The Potala Palace is the historical winter residence of the Dalai Lamas and their government headquarters, according to the official chinadaily.com.cn. Visitors to the Potala Palace will be admitted free of charge until March 15. They will only need to show their IDs for entry during the period, reported TRC. The palace, described as “a model of ancient architecture and home to over 100,000 cultural relics”, will be open daily from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm, according to the report.


Notably, tourism to Tibet helps to legitimize China’s rule and attempts to cover up the harsh reality of six decades of political and cultural repression, as observed by Free Tibet. It is pertinent to note that the same government which claims to encourage tourism in Tibet using Tibetan culture and traditions as commodities curtail the Tibetan language rights through which their culture can be preserved and flourished, Hindustan Times reported.


Moreover, there is a clear distinction between how Chinese domestic tourists can travel within China and Tibet, how Tibetans can travel within China and Tibet, and how foreign tourists can travel within China and Tibet, reported TRC. Despite Chinese claims that Tibet is an integral part of China, foreign visitors must obtain additional permission to visit Tibet in addition to their Chinese visa. Also, China denies unrestricted access to occupied Tibet to civil society, journalists and Tibetans in exile. There are various movement restrictions for Tibetans, particularly within the Tibet Autonomous Region, and Lhasa, the Tibetan capital city, is the most difficult for Tibetans to access, reported TRC.

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