China Expels Last Foreign Journalists From Tibet

China has ordered the last foreign journalists remaining in Tibet to leave the province. It comes amidst reports of China beefing up its security presence in and around the area.

Beijing had threatened to withdraw the residence permits of the two German journalists if they failed to comply with the demand. The move has been widely condemned by journalists’ organizations and human rights groups.

Georg Blume, a correspondent for the German weekly Die Zeit, and Kristin Kupfer, a reporter for the Austrian weekly Profil and the German news service epd, left the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Thursday, Mar. 20.

Ramping up military presence

Blume reported seeing large military convoys moving near Lhasa shortly before his departure.

“One convoy was about two kilometers long and contained about 200 trucks, each having 30 soldiers on board. So that’s about 6,000 military personnel in one convoy,” he told the AFP news agency.

A separate source, who asked not to be identified, told AFP: “Lots of security forces are on the streets. We can see Chinese security going door to door. It’s very tense.”

The expulsion of foreign journalists from Tibet is at odds with Beijing’s pledge in January to allow foreign reporters more freedom ahead of the Olympic Games, which open in five months.

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