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HK, Macao, Taiwan reporters conclude Lhasa trip, saying much to write about in region
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08:25, June 06, 2008

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"There is so much to write about," said Jia Lei, a reporter with the Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao, when concluding his three-day visit to Tibet on Thursday.

At the invitation of the Information Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, Jia came to the plateau city on June 2. Another 30 reporters from 18 media in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao also joined for the visit.

This was the second trip by journalists to cover stories on Lhasa, following a similar three-day visit in late March with 19 media organizations, including foreign reporters.

During the tour, the group talked with local officials, interviewed monks and other religious people, and spent time with local residents.

In the community of Lugu, Drakpa Yonten, director of the neighbourhood committee, told reporters the area was once-again peaceful and people could now walk the streets and do their religious services in the monasteries at any time.

"The place used to be one of the three biggest slums in Lhasa (in old Tibet). But the (annual) per capita income now has reached5,700 yuan (about 814 U.S. dollars), 1.7 times the Tibetan Autonomous Region average."

With Tibetans making up to 85 percent of the population in the area, residents in the community had all been covered with health insurance and the children were receiving the free nine year compulsory education, he said.

The delegation then went to the Jokhang Temple, where tourists were once again allowed to visit after May 16.

Ngawang, a management official with the temple, told reporters no monk was punished after the March 14 Lhasa riot.

"All religious activities are going on as normal," he said.

In the Yichun Garments Store where five young girls were burnt to death when the building was set on fire by rioters, Drolma, the only sales girl to have survived the incident, told reporters she had lost her closest companions. Her memory of March 14 was horrible.

In walking down the street where the Yichun store is located, ash and black marks were still noticeable on more than 10 shops along the way.

"This was an attempted political conspiracy aiming to split the country," said Lok Pou-wa, a Macao Daily News reporter.


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