LOCATION: Qinghai Province, Qinghai lake road to Golmud, Daotanghe Zhen
TYPE OF INCIDENT: Denied access to “open” area of China
REPORTING TOPIC: Tibet one year after March 14, 2008 riots
REPORTER/ORGANIZATION: Marijev Vlaskamp, RTL Netherlands
QUOTE: “We told them we were not in a closed area, so why couldn’t we work? Our topic was not only Tibet, we were also shooting for a climate change story. They appeared embarassed and said we would be very welcome in summer, but at the moment they could not elaborate on the reasons for stopping us.”
DESCRIPTION: Our reporting team was stopped by traffic police and local police at a roadblock. Authorities inspected the car and people inside, and asked if we were reporters. We were summoned to get out, and were brought to the local police station. Authorities copied our documents (passport for correspondent/ID for Chinese cameraman/drivers licence and ID of driver) and registered them. We were their superiors had told them not to give us an explanation. We were advised to come back in summer to visit the lovely Qinghai Lake. I phoned my embassy just to keep them informed. There was no interference with the call. The local Tibetan police and Chinese police chief were friendly, and offered us tea, a place to sit, and a place to warm up. They told us we could go, but the only direction we were allowed to go was back to Xining. We were followed on our way back by the head of the police station and were stopped on our way into Xining. We were requested to follow our escort to a hotel, where they wanted to arrange rooms for us. We refused and left for our original hotel.