Tibet will reopen to tourists 'soon'

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-04-19 08:52

The Tibet regional government on Friday rejected reports it has abandoned a plan to reopen the region to foreign tourists on May 1, saying it "will open soon", without giving a specific date.

Performers dance at the Tashilunpo Monastery in Xigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region on April 18, 2008. [Xinhua]

In a written statement sent to China Daily, the information office of the regional government said: "The Tibet tourism bureau is doing its utmost to prepare for the reopening of all scenic spots."

Following the riots in Lhasa on March 14, in which 18 innocent civilians were killed, tourism authorities advised people not to visit the region for safety reasons.

Tourist attractions and scenic spots were closed down and travel services were suspended following the unrest.

However, on April 3, the authorities said the region would reopen to foreign and domestic tourists on May 1, a national holiday.

Train tickets to Lhasa have already sold out, a newspaper in Zhengzhou, Henan province, reported recently.

Several other tourism destinations in Tibetan-inhabited regions are also recovering from last month's riots.

Authorities in Diqing Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province, said last week the region had now reopened to foreign travelers.

385 rioters surrender

In another development, Jiang Zaiping, deputy head of the Lhasa public security bureau, told a press conference on Friday that 385 people involved in last month's riots have turned themselves in to police.

Most of them claimed they had been coerced into taking part in the riots, while a few admitted to being organizers, he said.

Of the 170 suspects on the most wanted list, 82 have surrendered to police, Jiang said.

Also on Friday, the Tibetan health authority told China Central Television that all of the 382 people wounded in the March 14 riots have been "effectively treated" by local hospitals.

Li Luping, deputy head of the regional health bureau, said: "Local hospitals provided timely treatment for all those who were wounded.

"The majority of them have now recovered and gone home."

All 178 of the people treated at the People's Hospital in Lhasa have returned home, a hospital official said.

However, 16 people who were severely injured, most of them police and firefighters, are still being treated at the Tibetan Armed Police Hospital.

Xinhua contributed to the story

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