One of the best windows into contemporary Tibet comes from Chinese tourists and their smartphones. As more Chinese visit Tibet, more messages and images from their travels are disseminated though the micro-blog website Sina Weibo (China’s version of Twitter). These observations help document the large-scale deployment of security personnel in Tibet – images that the Chinese government otherwise blocks through the censorship of Tibetans and restrictions on foreign journalists. The following 50 photos taken by Chinese tourists illustrate the extent to which the presence of highly-armed Chinese police has become the norm in towns both large and small across the Tibetan plateau:

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