Before police escorted him to the train station to leave the Tibetan capital Lhasa, Blume told news agency DPA that the Chinese has threatened to take the journalists’ visas if they didn’t leave the troubled Chinese province. Both journalists had refused to follow the police orders to leave the worsening situation in Lhasa for several days, said Blume, who works for German papers Die Zeit and Berlin daily taz. Kupfer writes for Austrian magazine Profil.
“Today we were told in an intimidating way, that if we don’t leave now, we will have big problems, and namely with our visas,” Blume said.
Both the EU and the German embassy in Beijing unsuccessfully pressured the Chinese authorities to allow the journalists to stay as independent correspondents.
“Ultimately no one will know what happened,” Blume said. “We need to talk with eyewitnesses here to find out the truth, because all the information coming out of Beijing or Dharamsala is suspicious.”
“A lot will be lost,” Blume went on. “It was a chance to shed light on the situation.”
Many international journalists, including James Miles of The Economist, had already left the country on Monday as Chinese authorities continued their violent crackdown on Tibetan demonstrators.