Armoured troop carriers and tour buses packed with police roll along the winding mountain roads. Internet service is dead in some places. Military camps fortified with sandbags sit amid Tibetan communities,where strings of prayer flags flutter in the wind.
Fifty years after a failed uprising sent the Tibetan leader,the Dalai Lama,into exile,China is mounting a show of force to try to prevent a repeat of last years sometimes violent protests against Chinese rule. Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the March 10,1959,revolt.
Last year,a commemorative march by monks in Lhasa,the capital of Tibet,was blocked by police. That set off protests,embarrassing China before the Beijing Olympics. In the year since,a kind of martial law has prevailed.
In Daofu,a town in Sichuan province,monasteries are closed to visitors,local officials said. Police cars patrol the streets. There have been thousands of police and troops here since the Lhasa riots last year. It has affected our lives, said one resident,who declined to be named. Food is more expensive and harder to buy because the soldiers are eating a lot.