London, Apr 9 : Tibetan monks interrupted the second state media trip to a protest-hit area of Tibet, which proved to be another setback to China's attempts to counter international criticism of the state crackdown of the unrest.
The Chinese authorities have launched a drive to counter what they allege is a biased coverage of the unrest and their response by many in the Western media. Foreigners are not allowed into Tibet at present and even under normal circumstances journalists are rarely granted permission to travel there.
Reporters attempting to reach other areas of unrest in China have been turned back or ejected by security forces, The Guardian reported.
Officials arranged for a small group to travel to Xiahe, Gansu province today. The town was the scene of angry protests last month.
But the visit took an unexpected turn, as between 15 and 30 lamas, carrying a banned Tibetan flag, burst out of a building at Labrang Monastery and rushed across to the group of Chinese and foreign journalists.
"The Dalai Lama has to come back to Tibet. We are not asking for Tibetan independence, we are just asking for human rights, we have no human rights now," one monk said.
Last month, monks at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa disrupted the first trip for foreign journalists to Tibet, interrupting a speech on inter-ethnic harmony and telling reporters: "They are tricking you. Don't believe them. They are lying to you."
At a separate press conference in Beijing, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, said police had detained 953 people suspected of involvement in last month's violent riots in Lhasa.
The Tibetan government-in-exile alleged that the true tally across China is more than 140 with many protesters dying in clashes with security forces.