Foreign Journalists Take Official Tour of Tibetan Capital བོད་སྐད།

Chinese authorities have taken a 17-member delegation of foreign journalists on an official tour of Tibet's capital, Lhasa, which erupted in anti-government protests and rioting last year.

China's official Xinhua news agency says the journalists toured monasteries, schools and the railway station.

Xinhua says the journalists also talked with Buddhist monks, students and other Tibetans.

Xinhua quotes a top Communist Party official in the region, Gumbo Tashi, as saying Chinese authorities expected foreign journalists to "see and feel Tibet by their own."

But the Associated Press describes the four-day tour that began Thursday as tightly scripted.

An AP report says paramilitary police who patrol the city's Tibetan quarter wore black and yellow track suits instead of their normal uniforms.

According to AP, Gumbo Tashi told the reporters that some security personnel had been relocated for the convenience of visiting reporters.

"The Chinese government does not want to address these problems, and they reduce it to the Dalai Lama and separatist groups. This is a way of avoiding their responsibilities," said Woeser, a Tibetan writer and blogger based in Beijing who like many Tibetans uses one name.

Getting information out of Tibet is difficult and interviews on government-organized reporting trips are often unreliable, making it "hard to get a grasp of what's really going on," she said. "According to what I know, the situation is still serious."

A monk in his 30s arranged a secret meeting with one of the foreign reporters in Lhasa on last week's trip and described the political study classes he's required to attend once a week at his monastery as painful.

In his interview, the monk, who had dressed in civilian clothes to avoid drawing attention to himself, told the reporter from RTE Irish radio and television that monks are forced to criticize the Dalai Lama during the classes.

More than half the monks in his monastery had returned to their home provinces or left the monkhood since last year because "they found the pressure too much," said the monk, who asked that his name not be used to avoid punishment.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.