søndag 13. februar 2022

BEIJING DIARY: A taste of Tibet with Chinese characteristics

I can’t visit Tibet while I’m in China working at the Beijing Winter Olympics. But China can show me its own version of the remote region. China’s “closed loop” system for the Games means it’s almost impossible for any of the thousands of athletes, sports officials, journalists and media workers who have arrived from overseas to get out and see the country.

Games attendees are staying at dozens of hotels, all fenced off from the rest of Beijing and accessible only by bus or taxi to the press center, competition venues or the airport. By chance, part of The Associated Press’ Olympics team has been assigned to the Beijing Tibet Hotel, which has been built and outfitted to evoke the distant region on China’s western edge.

I’ve traveled widely in China but have never been to Tibet, a long-isolated place that’s always been hard for foreigners, especially journalists, to reach, well before pandemic travel restrictions. Foreign correspondents can only visit on government-organized tours. So I was curious to see what the hotel would be like.