On This Spot

On This Spot: A Human Rights Map of an Occupied City

The International Campaign for Tibet’s map, On This Spot – Lhasa, is an up-to-date and comprehensive travel map of Tibet’s capital city, Lhasa. With its inclusive approach to controversial and politically sensitive sites, it is also the most unconventional map of Lhasa to date.

On This Spot captures the rapidly changing face of Lhasa that local tour guides there are forbidden to discuss. In addition to extensive information for tourists, the map highlights often-hidden aspects of Lhasa such as sites of major demonstrations, the locations of prisons, and many other sites that are omitted from Chinese maps and conventional tourist maps.

“Visitors will spend thousands of dollars on their trip but very little will go to Tibetans,” said John Ackerly, President of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). “Through this map, we urge visitors to be informed about the reality of Lhasa today – and to give back to Tibetans,” said Ackerly.

A section on travel ethics urges visitors to patronize Tibetan businesses, explains how to support religious freedom, help protect Tibet’s environment and avoid putting Tibetans at risk.

Unlike South Africans in the 1980s and Burmese today, Tibetans have not asked foreigners to boycott travel to Tibet. Instead they and their leader, the Dalai Lama, have encouraged outsiders to visit Tibet in hopes that greater knowledge of Tibet will offset China’s mighty propaganda machine.

“We wanted a map that told the stories of places in Lhasa which are being erased and forgotten,” said Ackerly. “Chinese authorities renamed many streets and sites in an attempt to strip away Tibet’s legacy and replace it with their own.”

On This Spot contains one large map, four smaller detail maps, 16 color photos, a walking tour of the Barkhor circuit, a travel ethics section, a “Yellow Pages” of phone numbers, and much more.

ICT is releasing the map as part of an initiative to educate travelers about the implications for Tibetans of China’s occupation of Tibet and to equip them with information about how to support Tibetan communities and organizations. ICT is also calling on Tibet guidebook authors and publishers to accurately portray Tibet by providing information on the human rights situation that is often omitted from these resources.

The map was produced by Himalayan Map House, Inc., with design and text provided by ICT. It is available to ICT members for $4.95 and non-members for $5.95, contacting ICT at 202-785-1515, or through ICT’s online store.