LHASA, China (AP) -- Tibet is usually off-limits to the foreign media, but Chinese officials this week took foreign journalists on a visit to the region, almost two weeks after Beijing celebrated half-century control over the Himalayan territory.
China sent troops to occupy Tibet following the 1949 communist revolution. The government says the region has been part of Chinese territory for centuries, while many Tibetans say it has a long history of independence under a series of Buddhist leaders.
The region's traditional Buddhist ruler, the Dalai Lama, fled in 1959 amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, and continues to advocate for a meaningful level of autonomy under Chinese rule.
China established the Tibetan autonomous region in 1965, one of five ethnic regions in the country today. While Tibet is nominally in charge of its own affairs, its top officials are appointed by Beijing and expected to rule with an iron fist. The region incorporates only about half of Tibet's traditional territory and has been smothered in multiple layers of security ever since deadly anti-government riots in 2008.