BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008, 12:05 GMT
In quotes: Reporters in Tibet

Chinese soldiers in Lhasa, 27/03
Chinese police maintain a strong presence in Lhasa's old town

Chinese officials have taken a group of journalists to the Tibetan city of Lhasa. It is the first media trip there since violent anti-China protests in the region.

The BBC was not invited on the trip, but journalists from other organisations have been describing their experiences.

Beijing bureau chief, USA Today

[In] an extraordinary act of defiance, the official tour had just started in the Jokhang temple, Tibet's holiest shrine.

In the old town, the Tibetan area, there are many paramilitary police with riot shields and batons

A small group of journalists were being told how it is a symbol of national unity, when about 30 young monks surrounded the group and started shouting: 'They are tricking you, they are telling lies, don't believe them.'

You wouldn't describe it [as] martial law but it is a very strict paramilitary presence.

In the old town, the Tibetan area, there are many paramilitary police with riot shields and batons.

If you try and approach, as I have done today - escaping the group briefly to go to two of the monasteries whose monks were behind the protests in the weeks which led up to the riots - then there is no access to those areas, those monasteries where monks are believed to be detained.

From an interview with BBC radio

Beijing bureau chief, Associated Press

We could really see a city divided. In sort of the more recently built up, very Chinese, part of Lhasa, life seems to be going on fairly normally.

It certainly seems like a damaged city

But in the older, Tibetan section of the town and the blocks leading to it we could see the remains of burnt-out buildings. It certainly seems like a damaged city...

The curfews that have been in place in much of the old city were lightened a little bit on Wednesday night. They were able to stay out a little bit later.

But by 10 o'clock the streets were deserted and police, especially in the old quarter of Lhasa, were very, very visible coming out from the alleyways, patrolling in groups of 12 with helmets and shields.

From an interview with BBC radio

China Daily

The 65km bus drive from Gongga airport to downtown Lhasa is very pleasant - the Lhasa River flows quietly along the highway, with wild ducks swimming around leisurely.

Family in Lhasa, 27/03
The authorities have mounted posters of suspected rioters

However, as I set foot on the roof of the world, I found it hard to link the apparent tranquillity with riots that left 19 people dead nearly two weeks ago.

The ruins of burnt department stores and other buildings stand in mute testimony to the nightmare.

But people in and around Lhasa have begun resuming normal life. On the outskirts, farmers are busy in their fields, while in the downtown area, business is brisk.

From the internet version of the China Daily.

Financial Times

Riots took place in the area known as the Tibetan quarter, to the east of the city centre, which has seen many shops opened by Han Chinese migrants in recent years.

Mainland TV has shown harrowing tales of Han Chinese burnt to death in their shops.

Every one of the deserted streets contains burnt-out buildings.

Many of the surviving properties had white silk scarves tied to the locks - an apparent signal to rioters that the owner was Tibetan and that their building should be spared.

From the website of the Financial Times.

Did not want to be identified

A group of young monks - about 30 - came out while we were at Jokhang Temple.

They told us that what happened on 14 March had nothing to do with the Dalai Lama and they said they wanted freedom. Their protest lasted for between 15 and 20 minutes.

I have been able to move around freely during unescorted parts of the trip.

What struck me most was the damage to the shopping streets. And on Wednesday there were many armed police on the streets - it made me nervous.

Speaking to the BBC News website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific