Lhasa, Tibet (China). Few things can be more fascinating for a traveler than to be immersed in one of the numerous koras that surround (always clockwise) the holiest enclaves of the city of Lasha.


Even so, surely what most draws attention of the Western, are neither the different headdresses nor the clothing of the thousands of pilgrims who come to the city from the remotest parts of Tibet, but, possibly, the most surprising is the tremendous military presence deployed by the Chinese government.


In 1949 the Peoples Liberation Army ¨liberated ¨ the country, which endured the first years of invasion without resistance; nevertheless, in March 10th, 1959, began in Lhasa the Tibetan National Uprising with the biggest demonstration in its history to demand to the Chinese to leave the territory and assert their independence. Chinese army brutally suppressed the movement. In these recent years and mainly because of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the protests intensified, both within and outside the Tibetan territory.


Today ¨The roof of the world¨, a sacred place and object of legendary pilgrimages, is heavily guarded by the riot police fully armed prepared to suppress any act of rebellion.


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All images © Contemplate the Planet

Photographer: Javier Pérez-Cuadrado de Santiago