Foreign visitors banned from Tibet
Foreign tourists are understood to have been banned from the Tibet Autonomous Region following a series of self-immolations by Tibetans protesting against Chinese rule.
Several tour operators in China received notice to cancel group tours to Tibet with foreign visitors.
The CEO of Tibet Travel Expert -- who only provided her surname, Wang -- said the government stopped approving applications of foreign tourists on May 28.
Wang's understanding of the ban is it only applies to group tours that involve foreigners of different nationalities.
"This affected our business seriously," said Wang. "We will have to compensate more than 200 tourists who have already applied for the trip."
The National Tourism Administration of China did not respond when contacted about the ban.
Outside of the ban, all foreign visitors to Tibet must travel in tour groups and apply for special permits as well as a China visa.
The restriction came into effect after two Tibetan men, identified by the official Xinhua news agency as Dorje Tsetan and Dhargyal, set themselves on fire near the Johkang Temple, a major tourist attraction, on May 27.
Also on CNN: Two Tibetans self-immolate outside Lhasa holy temple
Since February 2009, when the first self-immolation occurred in Tibet, 37 people have set themselves on fire, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. That figure covers the latest incident in Lhasa -- the first in the capital.
Of 36 self immolations since March 2011, 28 people have died, the group says.
Self-immolation is a common form of protest for Tibetans who want genuine autonomy from China and accuse Beijing of repression.
Beijing rejects accusations of oppression of Tibetans, saying that under its rule, living standards have greatly improved for the Tibetan people.
The ban began just ahead of the Saka Dawa festival, when the number of Buddhist pilgrims peak in Tibet. The month-long Buddhist celebration began on a politically sensitive date this year -- June 4, the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident.
Also on CNNGo: Ganzi: Gateway to Tibet