Chinese authorities have closed the Tibetan region for foreign tourists ahead of the third anniversary of violent anti-government riots there, the AFP reported today.

Bloody violent anti-government riot occurred on March 14, 2008 in Lhasa that left at least 22 people dead and set off a wave of protests across Tibetan areas of western China.  In retaliation the Chinese authorities responded with a massive military crackdown in which Tibetan rights groups say nearly 140 Tibetans were killed.

 The tourism bureau will not give permission to foreigners to come to Tibet in March, an employee at the Xizang Tourist General Company in the region's capital Lhasa told AFP by phone.

They can't come to Tibet in March and as far as April is concerned we are still awaiting notification (of any rule changes).

Other agencies from overseas would not be allowed into Tibet in March, while one firm told AP that permission for foreign tourists to come to the region would take at least 10 days to be approved.

China routinely limits foreign travel to Tibet, requiring overseas tourists to obtain special permits -- in addition to Chinese visas -- and also travel in tour groups.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending in troops to liberate the region.