British newspaper The Guardian has published an article about life in Tibet six months after the military crackdown there closed off the country to the rest of the world and shutdown the North Side of Everest last Spring.
According to the article, the military presence in Lhasa remains strong, and the crackdown continues, even though it’s not quite as visible as it was in the spring and there are fewer reports coming out of the country. Officials there say that it is “stable” and “normal”, but the local citizens would likely not agree.
The Guardian is the first British paper allowed back into the country, and although they witnessed bustling streets and busy market places, they note that foreign travelers are few as of yet, and the local economy has been damaged by the lack of adventure tourists. They also note that many religious ceremonies in the deeply Buddhist country have gone underground to avoid Chinese scrutiny.
The article is an interesting one, as we’ve had few glimpses of what is going on inside the country since the crackdown. It was believed that things would change once the Olympics ended, and while things did loosen a bit, entry and exit from Tibet still carries some hefty conditions. Because of the continued occupation of the country, many climbers skipped Fall expeditions to Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma this year in favor of other peaks in Nepal.
Lets hope that things continue to loosen in time for the spring, when teams will be looking to return to Everest, and adventure tourists will be planning Himalayan treks.
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