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Two more foreign journalists expelled from Tibet; Internet users threatened with sanctions

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemned the expulsion from Lhasa of German journalist, Georg Blume, of the dailies "Die Zeit" and "Taz", and Kristin Kupfer, correspondent for the Austrian magazine "Profil" and the EPD news agency on 20 March 2008. "A top official threatened to cancel our visas for China", Blume told the German news agency DPA. They were forced to leave Tibet by train, after holding out for five days against insistent police demands to go. The same week, the correspondent for "The Economist", James Milles, and a group of around 15 reporters from Hong Kong were forced out of Lhasa.

In addition, Reporters Without Borders has obtained a copy of a message banning Internet users from referring to events in Sichuan province and provinces with a Tibetan population. The Chinese-language message appears on QQ instant messaging, used by Tibetans living outside of Tibet.

Announcement from the Internet Surveillance Bureau: "We inform Internet users that it is forbidden to post news about Tibetan events. From today, the Internet Surveillance Bureau will carry out filtering and censorship. It is forbidden to post, circulate or discuss reports about Tibetan events in Chengdu. Anyone infringing this ban will have their IP address sent to the police who will take the necessary steps."

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