Monks Mess With China Propaganda Trip

Chinese authorities believing they had completey restored peace and prosperity to the Tibet area allowed a group of foreign correspondents to enter Lhasa on a special propaganda trip designed to beguile the outside world with the situation. Unfortunately, about 30 monks staged a quiet protest at the Jokhang Temple in the heart of the old Tibetan quarter of town. Foreign correspondents had been banned from traveling independently in Tibet after outbreak of the anti-Chinese demonstrations. A reporter for the Fnancial Times noted that the “smell of burning buildings still hangs in the air,” and that a string of shops and apartments were “reduced to charcoal frames.” The correspondents felt there was much more damage in Lhasa than what the world had thought was happening during the riots.

Some correspondents broke away from the group and, although followed by security police, were able to try talking with Tibetans. However, few were willing to risk speaking with foreigners when police were watching what took place. Calum McLeod of USA Today, commented: “the climate of fear means it’s very tough to get people to speak candidly and to get them on the record even harder.”