China promises to open up Lhasa to international media
Beijing (PTI): China on Tuesday promised to "open to the rest of the world" riot-scarred Lhasa, locked down since Friday after the worst pro-independence protests in two decades, amid a clamour by foreign journalists seeking access to the Tibetan capital.
At his maiden press conference after being re-elected as Premier which stretched for more than two hours, Premier Wen Jiabao faced repeated questions from the foreign media on the unrest in Lhasa which has brought Beijing's human rights record under fresh scrutiny.
Asked why China was not letting foreign journalists to travel to Tibet if it was sure of its version of the developments in the Himalayan region, Wen said the situation in Lhasa was "basically returning to normal. The situation is quite and calm".
He assured the agitated western journalists that he fully appreciated the reason why the international media organisations would "like to go there at this moment".
"Lhasa will be opened to the rest of the world," he told reporters at the ornate Great Hall of the People, promising that organising a trip to Lhasa to see the ground situation would be considered.
Foreign journalists in China had yesterday urged the government to allow access to Tibet.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China said it had been informed that two dozen correspondents had been turned away or forced to leave Tibetan areas and some had been told that they had been barred due to police action.
Such interference is not keeping with the reporting regulations adopted during the Olympics period "and especially not in keeping with the international community's expectations of an Olympic host nation," Club President Melinda Liu said in a statement.