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Overseas journalists' Lhasa tour interrupted, resumes soon


    LHASA, March 27 (Xinhua) -- A tour by overseas reporters to cover the aftermath of the Lhasa riot was interrupted by a group of lamas at the Jokhang Temple on Thursday morning. The tour, however, soon resumed.

    More than a dozen lamas stormed into a briefing by a temple administrator to cause chaos.

    An officer with the Information Office of China's State Council, the organizer of the media tour, said the coverage of the reporters went on as scheduled.

    The Dalai clique has never stopped secessionist activities since Dalai went into exile in 1959. In addition, there were many signs that the clique was behind the crimes that aimed to sabotage China's stability and unity, said Gesang Yexe, a research fellow with the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences.

    At present, there are more than 1,700 temples in Tibet, and the rightful religious activities are under the protection of the law, Gesang Yexe said.

    Religious activities inside the Jokhang Temple have been as normal even amid the Lhasa violence earlier this month, said Norbu, Lhasa Administration of Ethnic and Religious Administration director.

    The reporters, from 19 media organizations including the U.S.-based Associated Press, Britain's Financial Times and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, were touring the Tibetan capital on a three-day trip press junket in Lhasa.

    According to the schedule, the reporters first went to a Tibetan medical clinic that had been attacked in the riot near the Jokhang Temple square in downtown Lhasa.

    They were also shown the Yishion clothing store where five sales assistants were burned to death in an arson attack by the rioters, the torched buildings of the Lhasa No. 2 Middle School and a smashed Bank of China outlet.

    The reporters could also visit local markets, shopping centers, the city's relief station and interview government officials and injured police, said the information office official.

    Lhasa is now returning to normal after the riot that was organized, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai Lama clique.

    The riot, involving beatings, smashing, ransacking and arson led to the deaths of at least 18 civilians and one police officer.

    It also left 382 civilians and 241 police officers injured, businesses looted, and residences, shops and vehicles torched.  


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