China takes aim at Western media's Tibet coverage

BEIJING, March 27 (Reuters) - China called foreign media's reporting on unrest in Tibet a "textbook of bad examples" on Thursday, keeping up a wave of objections to Western coverage of the region it has largely sealed to outsiders.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the comments in response to a question as to whether the government was behind the Chinese-language Web site, which is devoted to exposing what it says are inaccuracies in reporting on Tibet.

"Is it really necessary for the Chinese government to incite this?" Qin asked a news conference. "There is such a Web site because people are very angry about those false reports."

His remarks come as China's Foreign Ministry escorted a small group of journalists into Lhasa for a closely monitored trip, the first time it has allowed foreigners into the region since a March 14 riot.

The riot capped several days of peaceful, monk-led protests against Chinese policies in the remote, which the government says were instigated by the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile since a failed 1959 uprising against Beijing's Communist rule.

Tourists, who need permits to travel to the deeply Buddhist region, were advised to leave following the violence, and journalists are typically not allowed to go to Tibet without government minders.

A massive influx of armed police has also kept reporters out of ethnic Tibetan areas of western China that have seen ongoing protests and in the aftermath of the riot it blocked access to several Web sites that reported on the region.

Qin said Western journalism on the issue violated professional ethics and was "a textbook of bad examples". It teaches the Chinese people about so-called justice and objectivity claimed by some Western media".

"This could be a good thing if we can learn from it."

The anti-CNN Web site calls the U.S. broadcaster "The World's Leader of Liars" and says it is in a "struggle to resist Western voices and hegemony".

The Olympics, which open in Beijing on Aug. 8, have also become a lightning rod for criticism of China's policies in Tibet, which its troops entered in 1950, making the government especially sensitive about the issue it considers an internal affair.

The China Journalists' Association also issued a declaration carried in the People's Daily, the voice of the ruling Communist Party, saying that Western media coverage of the unrest "betrayed the basic principles of accuracy and objectivity".

"Their reporting poses as a serious threat to the credibility of media among the public," Zhai Huisheng, an official at the association, was quoted as saying.

Qin, the spokesman, said the anti-CNN Web site should give pause for reflection.

"What the Tibetan incident leaves us is a mirror which tells us the true colours of some in the international community," he said.

Qin did not give any examples of bad reporting, but the journalists' association complains that Western media too often uses what was said by the "Dalai clique" and only quoted the Chinese government "sometimes".

Other complaints include manipulating pictures and captions.

Editing by David Fox