Tibetan travel company bars Hong Kong tourists from visiting TAR

The Potala Palace in Lhasa
The Potala Palace in Lhasa
13th September 2019

The ban was issued in August as protests gathered pace in Hong Kong

A state run Tibetan travel company has barred Hong Kong tourists from going on its trips to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and the eastrern Tibetan provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan, a company document shows. 

The Tibet Banma Tourism Culture Communication Company released a notice on 26 August warning it can no longer accept tourists from Hong Kong across all of its travel itineraries in the TAR, Qinghai and Sichuan, including chartered car trips and tour groups.

The order came from the Chinese government, Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch said. 

The ban on travellers from Hong Kong comes during a standoff between Beijing and pro-democracy protesters in the city. The protesters have defied Chinese authorities in attempts to retain democratic rights and fight a bill which would allow China to extradite Hong Kong residents to the mainland.

In August the Chinese government arrested ten university students from Hong Kong for shouting “Recovering Hong Kong” at the base camp of Mount Everest in Tibet, Tibet Watch said.

The notification, released in August by the state run Tibet Banma Tourism Culture Communication Company
The notification, released in August by the state run Tibet Banma Tourism Culture Communication Company

Following the event the government issued the notice warning travel companies not to accept Hong Kong tourists for trips to the TAR, Qinghai and Sichuan, Tibet Watch said.

Wu Yingjie, the secretary of the Party Committee of TAR denied the government gave the order adding that Hong Kong tourists aren't banned from visiting Tibet.

The release of the notice follows findings that WeChat users in Tibet could face up to eight years in prison for sharing information about the Hong Kong protests before state media officially reports it. 

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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