This is a photo that shows Chinese uniformed soldiers holding the crimson/yellow garbs of the Tibetan monks in their hands.  The immediate inference is that these Chinese soldiers were summoned to morph into young Tibetan monks to create mayhem on March 14, 2008 in Lhasa.   Their play-acting would completely destroy the worldwide perception of a peaceful demonstration for Tibetan independence.
An alternate version stipulates that the Chinese uniformed soldiers were used for the visit by the overseas correspondents to Lhasa.  At the Jokhang Monastery, a group of thirty or more apparent young monks rushed up to the overseas correspondents and spoke to them for 15 minutes.  Astonishingly (but expectedly so if the monks were known to be actors), the Chinese handlers did nothing to interfere!  So what did these 'monks' tell the overseas correspondents?  What did these "fake monks" say that was damaging to the Tibetan cause?  In 200803c#014:

One monk cried and said that they had been locked up in the temple for 17 days (from March 11 to now).

And then there was this:

Another excited monk said that more than 100 Tibetans have been killed in Lhasa recently and more than 1,000 Tibetans have been arrested.  He emphasized that they had personally seen the bodies of the dead Tibetans.

How can one reconcile the two statements?  It is right there for everyone to contemplate -- the monks were locked up in the temple but somehow they had personally seen the bodies of the dead Tibetans!  They had to be lying (unless the Chinese broke their own blockade and brought in the bodies for show for some truly unfathomable reason).  Unfortunately, this Chinese move was so subtle that nobody reading the overseas media reports detected this piece of absurdity.

But wait!  Let us not get carried away!  This photo (and all ensuing theories about the March 14 riot) is a waste of time for all you conspiracy theorists.  The photo had appeared first on the back cover of the 2003 Annual Report of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (see link).  In all likelihood, this has more to do with some movie filmed in Tibet that required a cast of monks.  Since real Tibetan monks will not appear as set extras, the next bet is to ask for the Chinese People's Liberation Army to lend its soldiers.   You ask them to show up clean-shaven, you distribute their costumes, and they are going to be truly obedient extras in mass numbers for your filming session.  For example, here is The Touch starring Michelle Yeoh:

Relevant Links

- DHARMA or DECEPTION?: Chinese Soldiers Dressed as Tibetan Monks  Think Possible, Gaia Community
- The truth of "Fake Monks" in Lhasa.(Part 1)   YouTube

Q. Ma-Siew won by more than 2.1 million votes and this is probably beyond your expectations.  Before election day, what was the estimate from the Ma-Siew campaign headquarters?
A. Our internal polling has been pretty good.  Over the past six months, the polling numbers were steady with a lead between 15% to 20%.  After adjustment to voting numbers, a more conservative estimate would be a lead of 13% to 15%.  We actually got almost 17%.
The actual number of votes for Ma-Siew was higher than we expected.  We estimated a lead of 1 million and that was too low.  The reason for the under-estimation was that we were expecting the Democratic Progressive Party to come up with some dramatic in the final two or three days.  That was why we allowed a margin of 1 to 1.2 million votes to fall.  On one hand, the DPP did not come up with any new "dirty tricks."  On the other hand, KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung was actively "disinfecting" every day with two or three press conferences and make sure that we lock up the media coverage for us.

Q. Although you did not expect to win by so much, were you sure that you would win?  In 2000 and 2004, the KMT led in the polls but they lost the election.  Was there any pressure this time?
A. Of course, there was pressure.  Therefore, we were optimistic for the polls but not optimistic in our hearts.  Although we were leading by a lot in the public opinion polls, we did not dare to take things lightly.  There was still an intense atmosphere.

Q. How do you look at public opinion polls in Taiwan?  In previous elections, the public opinion polls were inaccurate and differed vastly from the election results.  Many people say that public opinion polls in Taiwan are way off.
A. There are two many reasons why the public opinion polls are inaccurate.  One reason is that some political parties run their own polls.  The results that they release to the outside world look like propaganda without any useful value.  This type of thing happened this year as well.  Frank Hsieh kept emphasizing that the opinion polls show that their support numbers were as close as 8%, then 6%, then 5%, then reaching the golden crossover points, ... Actually, those were all lies.
Apart from political motives, the public opinion polls are inaccurate due to the "organizational effect."  The polls conducted by the various media outlets contain "organizational effects."  The pro-blue TVBS has polls that show higher leads for the pan-blues, while the pro-green FTV or Liberty Times have polls that are more favorable to the pan-greens.  In this case, the TVBS poll showed that Ma-Siew had better than 50% support while Hsieh-Su had better than 20% support.  TVBS then makes a strong adjustment among those who refused to state their preferences to derive the estimate.  Different organizations have different many adjustment methods to account for their "organizational effects."  I believe that the results are accurate.  This time, most public opinion polls estimate that the KMT would receive between 55% to 60% of the votes, and TVBS was actually the most accurate when it predicted that Ma-Siew would get 58%.  The various polls were all around the same number.

Q: Apart from the polls conducted by the various media outlets, the KMT and the DPP both conducted their own polls whose results are normally not released publicly.  When did the KMT internal polls begin?
A. Ten months from start to finish.

Q. During these ten months, did the poll numbers change a lot?
A. Frankly speaking, it was a waste of time spending so much time and money.  Over the ten months, the numbers basically did not change much.  There were some 3% to 5% jumps.  But the poll conducted on the day before the election had almost identifical results as the one done six months ago.  Our support level was 43% and theirs was 23%.


Q. Six days before the election, Ministry of Education Secretary-General Chuang Kuo-jung used foul language at a Hsieh-Su rally.  Even the normally intransigent Hsieh-Su campaign headquarters issued an apology.  The media believed that this incident affected the Hsieh-Su campaign.  After the election, certain pan-green voters thought that Chung Kuo-jung and Chen Shui-bian were the culprits for the election loss.  According to the KMT internal polls, how many percentage points did Ma-Siew get as a result of Chung Kuo-jung?
A. Our support level did not rise, because all those who detest Chuang Kuo-jung are our supporters already.  Even if he said something worse, it would not have helped us.

Q. That is to say, the Chuang Kuo-jung affair had no impact?
A. There was an impact.  While our support level did not rise, the Hsieh-Su support level fell by 2% because even the greens found it intolerable.  The Hsieh-Su support level was low to begin with, and this made it even lower.  The Chuang Kuo-jung enabled us to defend our territory and ensure that they cannot attack us.  Therefore, Chuang Kuo-jung made a contribution.

Q1.  Did you vote in last Saturday's presidential election?
82%: Yes
18%: No
By demographics:
79%: Men
86%: Female
68%: 20-29
78%: 30-39
89%: 40-49
89%: 50-59
90%: 60+
83%: Taipei/Taipei/Keelung
85%: Tao/Chu/Miao
82%: Chung/Chiang/Tou
82%: Yun/Chia/Nan
83%: Kao/Ping/Peng
82%: Minnan
87%: Hakka
88%: Outside of Taiwan
85%: Did not graduate from high school
81%: High school grad/professional school
80%: University
89%: DPP supporters
96%: KMT supporters
71%: Independent/neutral

Q2.  Whom did you vote for?
27%: Hsieh-Su (DPP)
54%: Ma-Siew (KMT)
  1%: Blank ballot
17%: Refused to answer

By demographics (Hsieh-Su% / Ma-Siew% / Refused %):
31%/55%/13%: Men
24%/54%/21%: Women
28%/62%/  9%: 20-29
26%/59%/13%: 30-39
28%/55%/16%: 40-49
29%/51%/18%: 50-59
24%/47%/27%: 60+
27%/55%/16%: Taipei/Taipei/Keelung
15%/68%/14%: Tao/Chu/Miao
24%/58%/16%: Chung/Chiang/Tou
35%/49%/17%: Yun/Chia/Nan
34%/41%/23%: Kao/Ping/Peng
33%/49%/17%: Minnan
16%/68%/13%: Hakka
  4%/88%/  8%: Outside of Taiwan
28%/44%/26%: Did not graduate from high school
30%/55%/14%: High school grad/professional school
23%/64%/10%: University
86%/  8%/  7%: DPP supporters
  2%/95%/  2%: KMT supporters
18%/47%/33%: Independent/neutral
66%/26%/  7%: Voted for Chen/Lu (DPP) in 2004
  5%/93%/  3%: Voted for Lian/Soong (KMT) in 2004


The German magazine Bild shows the way to get rid of the pesky Chinese mediahunters with a photo with a monk in pain while being held by other monks and no policemen in sight!

However, the Chinese manhunters retrieved the original agency photo.  The original caption was something like: "A monk, injured after a beating by the police, lies on a road in front of the Chinese Embassy's visa section office in Kathmandu March 25, 2008. Nepali police charged at protesting Tibetans with bamboo batons on Tuesday, injuring some monks and detaining dozens of others."  But Bild could not have used the original photo with that caption, could it?

The presidential  election is finally over.  Although the process was messy, the ending was calm.  Some people said that the Taiwanese voters have matured because they are no longer emotionally manipulated or controlled by the blue or green election tactics.  Such as the greatest outcome of this election.  But in reviewing the process, I have ask whether the news media, which have been regarded the source of the chaos in Taiwan, have matured as well?

During the election, the news media were still filled with blue and green propaganda.  The most fantastic stuff comes from those television talk shows in the evening, during which every tiny little incident of the day was magnified as the ultimate blue-green confrontation.  Their exaggeration and hyperbole were even superior to those from the two election campaign headquarters.  The good thing is that the passionate performances of these television hosts have now become the principal source of entertainment for the people of Taiwan after work.  The bad thing was that they promote and intensify ethnic divisions in Taiwan.  It was like this four years ago, and it is still like that four years later.

In theory, the scholars and experts who are respected by society represent public assets of the nation, because they can guide the ideas and directions of national development.  But these people are actually commercial assets for the television stations to garner audience ratings.  The news media uses these television hosts to attract a target audience in order to grab the audience.  Therefore, these 'commercial products' must have a clear character and market position.  While these people are useful in gathering audience ratings and winning advertisements, the people must not take them too seriously because their over-the-top performances may intensify the ethnic divisions, conflicts and chaos.

In the presidential election four years ago, the media were also guilty of inflating the vote counts during their post-election analyses.  In order to monitor the situation this year, I got 49 students to join in a project to monitor this part of the media activity.  The students divided themselves into groups that monitored various satellite television news channels as well as the five over-the-air broadcast television stations.  The presidential election voting ended at 4:00pm, and I asked them to record the vote tally as shown on the television screen periodically.  I found that the media still have not been completely honest.

For example, the students found that four television stations had shown almost 100 votes by 4:04pm.  The rest of them also showed counts within 10 minutes.  It is hard to imagine just which voting station in Taiwan could be so efficient that it can complete all the steps to count the number of votes. ... So was there any data pumping this year?  The media didn't think so, but who knows?

Overall, the Taiwanese voters are more mature this year.  Through watching the televised counting, I also thought that the audience was more mature.  A student told me that a blogger wrote a program which can automatically go to to the websites of television stations to read the vote counts.  As soon as there is an update, his blog will immediately reflect the change.  By comparing the numbers from the various television stations, the blog visitors an compare the differences.  I believe that this blogger did this in order to monitor the awful data pumping that has been going on.  So this was a truly mature voter as well as a smart television viewer!

"Tibet has no freedom!" "The Dalai Lama is innocent!" For the fourteen days since the Lhasa riot, there had been rumors of monks participating in the riots but they did not have any direct means of speaking to the outside.  Finally, on yesterday morning, overseas correspondents were led by government officials to visit the Jokhang Palace and more than twenty young monks "risked death" to cry out.  They wanted the Chinese Communists to let the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and they hope that Beijing would have a dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

They emphasized that the Dalai Lama had not part in the riots.  "The Dalai Lama is innocent." When they got emotionally existed, the young monks covered their faces and cried.  It was very moving.

The Jokhang Palace is sacred to the Tibetans.  After the recent Lhasa riot, it has been locked down and the monks inside cannot go out.  Yesterday at around 10am, the overseas correspondents arrived at the Jokhang Palace.  The Palace Management Committee's deputy director presented the situation through a Han interpreter.  His message was in line with the official Chinese Communist line to the effect that "the purpose of the recent Lhasa riot was to destroy ethnic unity and national unification.  Tibet has belonged to China since the Yuan dynasty, and that is something that the majority of countries in the world acknowledge as fact."

But as the overseas correspondents were about to be led inside, more than twenty young monks came out and yelled loudly, "Everything is fake!  It is all lies!" The monks yelled in Tibetan and they shut the gate to the main hall.  Some of the monks were yelling at the deputy director too.

The young monks began by speaking in Tibetan while they cried.  The reporters asked the Tibetan interpreter what they were saying and she only said: "They are all speaking at the same time.  I cannot make out what they are saying."  The overseas correspondents then calmed the young monks down and asked for them to find someone who can speak putonghua.

Several young monks then spoke in awkward putonghua to say that all the believers coming to Jokhang Palace are faked actors employed by the government, because true believers will always bring butter oil to add to the lamps.  That was the reason why the monks had just shut the gate to the main hall.

One monk cried and said that they had been locked up in the temple for 17 days (from March 11 to now).  They said that there are 117 of them and they did not participate in the disturbances.  So why are they locked up?  Another excited monk said that more than 100 Tibetans have been killed in Lhasa recently and more than 1,000 Tibetans have been arrested.  He emphasized that they had personally seen the bodies of the dead Tibetans.

Another monk boldly used awkward putonghua to say: "Tibet has no freedom.  Let the Dalai Lama come back!  The Dalai Lama is innocent.  He has been wrongly blamed!"  Then he started to cry loudly.  The monk next to him said in putonghua: "I hope that other countries will support the people of Tibet."  The monks had some expectations and worries as they said to the overseas correspondents: "Will you get our voices to the outside?

The monks complained and cried for more than 10 minutes.  Then the stunned local officials recovered and said loudly to the overseas correspondents: "Let's go!  Let's go!  We have to move on to the next stop." As the overseas correspondents were leaving, a monk said: "After you leave, they will arrest us."  In the end, the overseas correspondents were "persuaded" to leave.

As a point of comparison, most of the overseas media took this part of their itinerary as the main story.  Hong Kong's pro-Beijing Wen Wei Po had nothing about the young monks.  Its feature story was about the true victims of the March 14 were innocent civilians, such as the five dead young girls at the Yichun clothing store.

YouTube links TVB, Reuters

At the regular Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference on March 27, a reporter asked: "A certain civilian website specializes in criticizing western media coverage on Tibet.  Do you approve or support this website?  Did the Chinese government provide any support to this website in terms of resources and financing?"

MOFA spokesperson Qin Gang said: "What you brought up reflects a certain social phenomenon that the media present here ought to reflect and contemplate.  Instead of asking whether the government is involved, you ought to look at some of the western media coverage and think whether the Chinese government needs to go in and fan the flames?  The condemnations and criticisms came spontaneously from the Chinese people from various sectors against the irresponsible, unprofessional and unethical reporting.  The Lhasa incident is over, our country shall be better, our nation shall be better and Tibet shall be better.  This affair is like a mirror which revealed the truth faces of certain people internationally.  It is also material for counter-education for its has taught the people that what the fairness and objectivity held up by certain western media really means."

Comment: The site does not need any Chinese government finance or resources.  The material was taken from a slideshow that was already circulating on the Internet and the total cost for the website so far is ... I estimate to be less than 200 RMB.  This is homemade material.  If the Chinese government were to invest a few hundred thousand RMB behind it, the people would have obtained the videos of the broadcasts, etc.

(International Herald Leader)

On March 19 and 20 respectively, the Luxemborg-based Germany-language TV station RTL and the  German news channel N-TV used photos of Nepalese police dispersing Tibetan crowds on their news broadcasts about Tibet.  On March 23 and 24, RTL and NTV acknowledged their mistakes and apologized.

The International Herald Leader reporter interviewed the RTL and N-TV spokespersons respectively.  The RTL spokesperson said: Our of my colleagues is responsible for this."  The "N-TV spokesperson said: "One of our workers used the raw material incorrectly." They both said that they will be very careful in scrutinising the raw materials in the future in order to ensure that this won't happen again.  As to the question why so many German media have committed similar mistakes, the two declined to comment on the grounds that they were familiar with what was happening at the other med.  The RTL spokesperson said: "Perhaps many people are prejudiced against China.  That is not impossible.  But the German media have the obligation to make independent news reporting and they should not be propagating other people's prejudice.""

Even so, the above two media were the only two willing to acknowledge their mistakes.  Most of the other Germany media have chosen to maintain silence or evade responsibility.

On March 17, Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Berliner Morgenpost and other Germany mainstream newspapers showed a photo of the Chinese police rescuing a civïlian as "arresting a protestor."  Süddeutsche Zeitung even went so far as to say: "The Chinese policemen would not even let a boy monk go."  The various German television stations did the same thing that day.  So far, only Berliner Morgenpost has responded with a statement: "The photo from Reuters/Agence France Presse was accompanied by text that was unclear whether the person was brought out against his will or not."

Here is the Berliner Morgenpost page:

Here is the AFP photo via Yahoo! News, which includes the accompanying text provided by AFP:

This screen grab taken from China's state television CCTV on March 16 shows a boy being taken by force along a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa. The Dalai Lama has appealed for calm in Tibet and "good relations" with China, but offered to quit as head of the exile movement if violence in the region worsens.


In this CCTV9 broadcast, the relevant clip shows up around 7:10 with the English-subtitle "rescue injured people."  If CCTV is saying that the video is for the police rescuing a civilian from mob violence, what right does the agency have to change it to "a boy being taken by force"?  If the agency does not trust CCTV to characterize its footage correctly, then why bother using the screen capture at all?

[in translation]

CNN, please open your dog eyes and see if this was a peaceful petition?  Are these the disciples of the Buddha?  They are obviously a bunch of mobsters.

Can someone sent this photo to CNN or internationally renowned websites.  The people of the motherland will be grateful!

Comment #1: This is not even a test of faith.  If you are a believer (in the Chinese government), you say: I knew that those monks were not demonstrating peacefully and here is the proof.  If you are a non-believer, you say: It goes without say that this photo was staged because why else did it take so long to surface?
Comment #2: More interesting is whether this photo will be censored in China (as in a direct order not to show it anywhere) because it disrupts harmony.  The Chinese government probably has a lot more visual material (see the beginning of this CCTV9 clip).

My initial reaction was to recoil in horror because I knew about this subject from the past (see History Textbooks in China).  I wanted nohing to do with this.

Today, information on Tibet is duopolized by two different political propaganda machines.  One machine is located in Beijing, and the other in Dharamsala.  Since Tibet is to a large extent still under a state of blockade, other individuals or organizations find it very difficult to obtain independent information (especially at the macroscopic level).  Like it or not, people who are concerned about Tibet are getting most of their information from these two propaganda machines.

The bad thing is that the information from these two sources is almost surely conflicting with and even completely opposite to each other.  Faced with this absurd situation, the solution is to choose your position first and decide which side you want to stand with, and then you treat the information from that side as true and everything from the other side as false.

This formula is not adopted by everybody, and yet there is no alternate way to make assessments based upon data.  The western world is suspicious and disgusted with the propaganda machines of communist countries, so the western world and its media tend to believe in the Dalai Lama.  Meanwhile, the "patriotic" (nationalistic) Chinese, even though they may object to the Chinese government on other issues, stand with the Communist Party on the Tibet issue.

If you have any level of understanding about Tibet, you will realize that the determination of truth from lies is not that easy.  Both Beijing and Dharamsala have elements of truth in what each say, but they also tell many lies.  Even if the Dalai Lama is respected by everybody, his propaganda machine still issues propaganda for political purposes that are as removed from the truth as the Beijing propaganda.

The macroscopic information would confirm those suppositions.  Thus, the Chinese government said intiailly that 13 Han civilians and 1 armed police officer died (or something like that).  But no Tibetan deaths?  Meanwhile, the Tibetan exile government claimed at least 99 Tibetans dead.  But no Hans?  What was I supposed to do?  Take the average of the two sets of numbers?  I decline to play this game.  Those big government-funded entities can slug it out among themselves.

Instead, I focused on two aspects.  First, I translated the most popular Chinese blog posts into English.  But wasn't all discussions of Tibet banned?  Well, I don't know where you got that idea because the stuff is all over the place and quite popular.  Maybe, but are Chinese blogs trustworthy?

The most popular blog post that I translated was by Phoenix TV reporter Chen Lin (Phoenix TV Reporter In Lhasa).  For one thing, she is a professional journalist who has named herself and her employer and she was known to have been assigned to work in Tibet.  Her blog posts contained all the things that she could not report on air due to non-cooperation -- people were willing to talk to her off the record but not with their faces shown (or even hidden).  Her first set of informants were the three Ye brothers from Zhejiang whose shop was burned to the ground and who witnessed their next door neighbor burned to a stick of charcoal.  Since Chen Lin published sufficient details (such as the location with photographs), this can easily be verified by others someday.  Her other major informant is the owner of Phuntsok Khasang International Youth Hostel (URL:, who showed her photographs from March 10 to 14.  In fact, this informant can probably be contacted by the information listed on the website.  So what is there to distrust?  (Postscript: The Washington Post interviewed the hostel owner named Zhang)

The second most popular blog post that I translated was by a Shenzhen woman in her 20's (How Can I Forget Lhasa, March 14?).  From the blog post, it is easy to deduce her identity.  She works at an optics shop on North Ling Khor Road about 400 meters down from the Ramoche Monastery, next to the Tibetan Institute of Architectural Design and across from an emergency medical center.  She has been blogging for sometime about her life in Lhasa before March 14.  How hard is that to verify and track down?  As the second blogger noted, she can only related her personal experiences which does not represent the whole truth or experience on that day.  But this is at least one truthfully recorded voice for that day when the macroscopic voices cannot be trusted.

The second aspect that I focused on was the Chinese Internet reaction.  Isn't all discussion of Tibet banned?  You must be joking!  It is theoretically banned, but there are leakages all over the place.  How hard will you try to find the voices in the wilderness?  You can check for what I found and I wasn't even trying hard (because I did not have the time).

As a final note before I leave, I note that this website has been intermittently inaccessible in China.  My understanding is that the website itself has not been blocked.  However, some of the pages are disconnected en route due to the presence of too many 'politically correct" keywords.  In March 14, 2008, Lhasa, I took the advice to change all the names of the monasteries to asterisks after the first letter to circumvent the filtering.  By Right Time, Right Place, Wrong Reporter?, I refused to play the game anymore, and I am told that the page is not even viewable with the usual proxy services from China.  

I only know that I write this site for me and not to please anyone else.  It makes no difference to me if I get one million readers or none.  If someone wants to block this website, that's their problem and not mine.  I am confident that anyone who wants to read this site can always find a way around it.

Chinese netizens found the AFP photo and wanted to know why the rioters throwing rocks were cropped out.

CNN explained that they needed to keep the burning car on the left in the photo (note: this refers to the photo below) and therefore they had to make an editorial choice.  But this was not the photo that CNN published, and therefore the explanation was off point.  This appeared to be the end of the issue because there was nothing the Chinese netizens can do except make more noise.

But without fanfare (or apology), CNN has quietly updated its page.  Here is the new and improved photo!

In lieu of any explanation for this change, CNN has cast suspicions about the Chinese Internet campaign western media.

CNN's bureau in Beijing has been deluged in recent days by a barrage of harassing phone calls and faxes that accuse the organization of unfair coverage. An e-mail to United Nations-based reporters purportedly from China's U.N. mission sent an Internet link to a 15-minute state television program showing Tibetans attacking Chinese in Lhasa.

A slideshow posted on YouTube accused CNN, Germany's Der Spiegel and other media of cropping pictures to show Chinese military while screening out Tibetan rioters, or putting pictures of Indian and Nepalese police wrestling Tibetan protesters with captions about China's crackdown.

Though of uncertain origin, the piece at least had official blessing, with excerpts appearing on the official English-language China Daily and on state TV.

(Daqi) Following "Very pornographic, very violent" and "very silly, very naïve," the next big Internet phrase is "做人不能太CNN  (Don't be too CNN)."  This means that a person should not be too shameless and oblivious to the truth.

This is a self-inflicted wound.  If CNN believed that it was right in the first place, then it should have stuck to that position.  Instead, it surrendered quietly.  Not only did this not appease the Chinese netizens, it only made matters worse.

On March 19, Hunan province Pingjiang county television reporter Wu Hua found a South China tiger in the Shiniuzhai scenir area.  According to the television station spokesperson, Wu was shooting a travel documentary and spotted this animal.  He did not know if this was a tiger so he reacted instintively to record this video clip.  In the video, a South China tiger-like animal was shaking for about three seconds, got up, used the paws to scratch the ground a few times and then sauntered into the forest.  The video cilp lasted 19 seconds.  Compared to the Shaanxi South China tiger, this one seemed more realistic.

The area was not desolate.  There were several hundred inhabitants at the nearby Xinfang village.  One has to go past four houses in order to go from the road to traverse the two kilometers to the scene.  There was a popular temple nearby with many daily worshippers.

Based upon caution from the Shaanxi South China tiger case, the television station did not show the video pending authentication.  But the news had gotten out and all sorts of medai reporters converged at Shiniuzha.

The government immediately organized an investigation because of its potential to the local tour industry.  The Hunan provincial Department of Forestry allocated 100,000 RMB for the investigation.

Here is the report on the investigation as issued on the afternoon of March 24.  At 9am, March 20, the Hunan provincial Department of Forestry immediately sent people out and they arrived there in one hour.  The team checked the the video, took screen captures, magnify the photos and determined that this was a real tiger.

But when the team experts checked a long list of other details (such as food residues, footprints, behaviors), there was no sign.  This was hard to believe since the tiger looked to weigh about 200 kilograms, which means that it is five or six years old.  Within its lifetime, it must have left some traces of its existence in a populated area.  So the question becomes whether this was a domesticated tiger brought out to pose for the video.

Presently, all domesticated tiger are registered with the Department of Forestry.  Since each tiger has unique stripe patterns, it was easy to run the match.  Using GPS, the experts identified the nearby facilities that had domesticated tigers.  They went to each facility and took photographs of the tigers there.  They hit the jackpot at the Shiyanhu vacation village and found a North East tiger with the same stripe patterns that belonged to the traveling Anhui Circus.  The Pingjiang TV reporter Wu Hua and the Anhui Circus boss Wang Hua had transported the tiger to Shiniuzhai for the video shoot and then returned it to the place of origin.  This tiger had been domesticated to the point where you can put it on a leash and go for a stroll.  By the way, the owner of the Shiniuzhai scene area and the Shiyanhu vacation village is the one and same person, and it was obviously to his benefit if Shiniuzhai could become a top tourist attraction.

This case is very different that of The Shaanxi South China Tiger.  That was a paper tiger which had the collusion of local government officials, and the investigation has been stalled.  This case was a private initiative and the government officials were only to glad to show that they were very vigilant (compared to their Shaanxi counterparts).  This whole case was solved in less than a week, but the Shaanxi case has been stuck since October 2007.

Additional Link 湖南华南虎造假闹剧背后  郑州晚报

Meanwhile another Germany TV station N-TV has said that it is reviewing its own coverage.  Previously, N-TV had shown a program with a photograph of a Tibetan protestor being manhandled by policemen.  The caption was "New protest in Tibet."  The policemen are clearly Nepalese.

(Sun Bin)  So far, the only heldout has been CNN which refuses to acknowledge bias in its photo.  But in its defense, CNN seems to have invoked a third photo that was not the one that was actually published.  To make it really simple, CNN published the photo on the left on its website.  Chinese netizens wanted to know why the rioters throwing rocks were cropped out.

CNN explained that they needed to keep the burning car on the left in the photo (note: this refers to the photo below) and therefore they had to make an editorial choice.  But this was not the photo that CNN published, and therefore the explanation was off point.

Is all of this pointless, diversionary and off the mark?  Here is Chinese blogger Drunkpiano:

I feel that in this matter, the following things should be condemned:

1. Some Tibetans committing looting, vandalizing, arson and assault (even deadly) on Han and Hui civilians
2. The Chinese government locking down information and restricting freedom of religion, and even slaughtering innocent people (the last point remains to be confirmed)
3. The majority of western media were deliberately producing misleading reports.

I feel that some people deplored items #1 and #3 but they did not feel that they have to say anything about item #2.  Meanwhile other people condemned item #2 and completely ignored item #1 and #3.  To make this quite loud and clear, we are talking about the idea of "taking positions."  Once you take a position, your actions are determined.  But why does anyone have to "take a position"?  I feel that both positions are "asinine to the extreme."

Someone said that all media will have their own prelidections and therefore it is up to the readers to reach a fair and balanced conclusion by checking different media.  This is not wrong, but the assumption is that the sum total of the multi-faceted facts and reports must be proportionate in order for the conclusion to be relatively fair.  For example, A and B are having a fight; A punches B and B punches A back.  But if the media only talk about A's punch while glossing over B's counterpunch, then the impression would be that A is bullying B.  In the reports on Tibet, I did not find the right proportions in the reporting.  <The Economist> called the rioters rioters, and they were the only ones.  That is why many westerners (if not the majority) will get the impression from their media that "a group of peaceful demonstrators were mercilessly mowed down by the Chinese government."

With respect to the AFP photo on the CNN website that had the rock-throwing rioters cropped out, a CNN spokesperson said that its decision was correct and that the TV network was not biased against any side.  The CNN spokesperson said that in order to fit the page layout, that controversial photo had to be made smaller.  This it was impossible to keep both the demonstrators and the burning vehicle in the photo.  However, the accompanying caption clearly pointed out that "the Tibetans were throwing rocks against the military vehicles and that a car was on fire in a Llasa street."  The CNN spokesperson said that after a review of their coverage on Tibet, they determined that not only was their decision on the particular photo correct, they also reject all the charges by Chinese netizens about biased and distorted coverage on the Tibet incident.

Of course, CNN has to stumble from one problem to crash into another with this statement.  Chinese netizens are saying that CNN should have said: "the rioters are throwing rocks against the military vehicles ..."  This is a case of "when helping becomes hurting."  The subtle difference is that the characterization is "rioter" than "Tibetan" as the Tibetan people/religion/culture should not be made equivalent to the mayhem.  If they must, they can even use "Tibetan rioter."

In any case, there is now a new website at  The website does not target just CNN, because they are looking at all the western media coverage on China.  Here is a new find from Radio France Internationale:

[in translation]

According to persons familiar with the internal polls done by the DPP, the smallest gap between Frank Hsieh and Ma Ying-jeou occurred just before the Legislative Yuan elections.  At the time, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was pushing the referendum to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan.  At that moment, Frank Hsieh was only about 7% behind Ma Ying-jeou.  But he never got closer afterwards.

After the defeat in the Legislative Yuan elections, Frank Hsieh took charge of the election campaign.  The United Nation issue was no longer the central issue and the spread in the polls increased again.  When Frank Hsieh attacked the "One China market" later, Ma Ying-jeou's lead shrank again.  But it stayed within a certain range and no breakthrough was possible.

The relevant persons analyzed the data and found that the voters had doubts about the One China Market.  However, while Frank Hsieh opposed it, he could not offer any alternative to deal with the economic problems.  Party insiders recommended that he should tie his "happiness economy" to the global economy/market in order to have more substance.  But Frank Hsieh did not say much along this line.

After the incident of the KMT Legislators charging the Frank Hsieh campaign headquarters, the gap shrank by 2% to 3%.  But the DPP had Chuang Kuo-jung spoke inappropriately about Ma Ying-jeou's late father at a campaign rally and that led to an overnight drop of 5%, which more than made up for the previous drop.

In the final week, there was the issue of China oppressing Tibet which was counterbalanced by Chiang Hsia's characterization of entertainment performers who came back from overseas to vote for Ma Ying-jeou as "not human."

On the final day before the election, the raw DPP public opinion poll showed that Frank Hsieh was 13% behind Ma Ying-jeou.  This translates to 1.6 million votes.  When the sample was weighted to population distributions (age, sex, geography), the margin became more than 2 million votes.  Therefore, the actual margin of 2.21 million did not surprise the DPP.

(Apple Daily)

DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh lost by the wide margin of 2.21 million votes and that surprised people inside and outside of the party.  According to election campaign aides, Hsieh's public opinion poll data had showed him trailing KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou by a wide margin.  After the Legislative Yuan elections, the closest that Hsieh got was the 12% gap right after the four KMT legislators charged the Hsieh headquarters.  In order to preserve morale, the polling data was restricted to just a new core members.

According to information, the Hsieh camp maintained secrecy on the polling data and even released fake data in order create momentum.  The level of secrecy was such that a campaign aide told the media: "We come back and win!"  Within the office betting pool, none of the Hsieh aides picked their candidates to lose.  

The core aides said that Hsieh was facing an unwinnable battle.  After the defeat in the Legisltive Yuan elections, Hsieh's support level was down to 18%.  Gradually, Hsieh picked up while Ma dropped but the margin always hovered between 15% and 18%.  When the four KMT legislators charged the Hsieh headquarters, Ma lost 4% so that the margin was 12%.  They wanted to use the March 16 million person rally to push ahead, but then came Ministry of Education Secretary-General Chuang Kuo-jung's inopportune speech about Ma Ying-jeou's late father.  Suddenly, Hsieh lost 6%.

The Tibet incident and the One China Market both added 2% each to Hsieh.  "A single Chuang Kuo-jung is worth three Tibets!"

(New York Times)  China Tensions Could Sway Vote in Taiwan.  Keith Bradser.  March 21, 2008.

Opinion polls showed Mr. Ma with a lead of up to 20 percentage points last week; Taiwan’s election laws do not allow the release of polls during the final 10 days before voting.

But surveys by both parties show that more than half of that lead has evaporated. Mr. Ma is now ahead by a more slender margin because of Tibet and because of an embarrassing incident in which four Nationalist lawmakers were caught roaming through the Democratic Progressive Party’s headquarters, politicians and political analysts said.

The closer race has reinvigorated the Democratic Progressive Party, which had been deeply gloomy after badly losing a January vote for the legislature. “We have narrowed the gap significantly since January and I believe the final outcome will be very close,” said Hsiao Bi-khim, the international affairs director of Mr. Hsieh’s campaign.

Su Chi, a Nationalist lawmaker and deputy campaign manager for Mr. Ma, said that Mr. Ma’s lead had narrowed in the last few days, but added that this was to be expected.

Related Link: Just days before the Taiwanese head to the polls, and Tibet matters: big time  Zhongnanhai.  March 21, 2008.

For the last day, TVBS allocated 13% of the undecided to Hsieh-Su and 7% to Ma-Siew.  This would leave the final tally as 51%+7%=58% for Ma-Siew and 29%+13%=42% for Hsieh-Su.

A friend sent over a link to a blog post <There are stupid idiots all the time, but there are especially more of them this year> by a Chinese netizen who is presently in England.  Here are some photos from that blog post:

...  In that post, I was very disappointed to find these idiots who tried to help but ended up hurting instead.  Their presence and efforts not only provide no material help, but they stir up the nationalistic fervor of the Chinese people and let the resulting anger flow and spread everywhere.  What Chinese person can bear to see his own national flag set on fire and their own Terracotta army vandalized?  Was what got smashed, burned, destroyed and killed the consequence of some sin?  How come the perpetrators are now lauded as heroes?  Do we need these idiots to preach about justice around the world?

The westerners have harbored prejudices against the Chinese people.  We often hear them say: The Chinese have been brainwashed because they can no longer tell the truth about something.  In their view, all Chinese are ignorant, undeveloped and close-minded.  They have no idea that many Chinese people know as much as they do and in fact visited a lot more websites than they have.  The westerner stoops down condescendingly to stretch out a helping hand to the wretched little yellow men so as to educate and instruct them.  They are totally oblivious to the possibility that they are dealing with live human beings who are thoughtful and sentient.  In the absence of respect and equality, what is the point of dealing with the westerners?  Presently, the westerners must be wondering about the reaction of the Chinese people to the current events.  Once again, they treat the unexpected outcome as the result of successful brainwashing or overflowing nationalism.  But they would never reflect on the implications of their actions on the Chinese people.

This German girl is asking a question:

What then is the explanation for this edited Agence France Presse photograph published by CNN?  What exactly was that Agence France Presse photographer shooting?

Thanks to these idiots, I have now changed my mind.  Previously, I did not particularly care about the Olympics because I did not feel that it had anything to do with me.  But now the Olympics is like a pair of testicles that someone else is holding in his hands in a threatening manner, but his purpose is not to change the practical situation of the Chinese people at all.  So I have to say: "Fuck your mother!  If you don't want to come, don't!  If you don't want to participate, don't!"  I don't believe that this German woman is helping the Dalai Lama.  She and her friends are only hurting him because they are making sure that a gate gets shut without any opportunity to open it again.  Thanks to their concerns, the Chinese people have rallied at an unprecedented speed underneath the national flag.  They have voluntarily given up many rights and freedoms, in order to avoid more injuries and insults from the outside.  These westerners are not helping their friends.  They are only helping to create an enemy as well as an Asiatic orphan.

[in translation]

Right in the center of the business district on Beijing Middle Road in Lhasa, someone had placed flowers in front of the burnt-out rubble that used to be the Yixun Clothing Store in memory of the five young Tibetan and Han girls who perished there.

On March 14, there was a serious violent occurrence of assaulting, looting, smashing and arson in Lhasa in which thirteen civilians were burned or knifed to death.  These five young girls were among the casualties.

There were originally six of them and a 23-year-old Tibetan girl was lucky to survive.  She recalled that at 2pm on March 14, trouble was occurring outside and they quickly closed the gates of the store.  At the time, there were fourteen female service workers.  Eventually eight of them were picked up by their families.  The remaining six lived in the places where the violence was the worst, and they could not leave.  So they hid on the second floor of the store.

"There were sounds of breaking glass and screams everywhere.  We were shivering with fear and we embraced each other and cried."  Several minutes later, someone broke down the iron gate and people rushed in to smash the goods in the store.  "They spoke Tibetan that did not have a Lhasa accent. We could not understand them.  We were scared and we kept quiet.  We were afraid that the bad people would kill us if they find us."  Several minutes later, things went quiet downstairs.  She poked her head out to see and saw that a fire was raging downstairs.  "Let's run for our lives!  They have set a fire off!"  She raced downstairs.  She heard the stairs squeaking behind her as the other girls followed her.

The fire was big and they were gasping for air in the smoke.  The rioters had pulled the iron gate back down again and left only a small gap.  She pushed her way underneath the gate and squeezed herself out.  She told the rest of the girls: "You must get out.  Follow me!"  She raced down the street.  She saw that there were stores on fire everywhere.  The rioters were assaulting people.  A woman was lying at the intersection with her face covered in blood.  She hid inside a courtyard.  Then she realized that her five friends had not come with her.

The store's boss Mr. Tang saw the tragic sight of the five girls who were burned to death.  Mr. Tang said that he broke out in tears when he saw the sight in the second-floor room.  The five girls were gathered around the bed, some sitting and some lying down.  Their faces were all blackened by the heat and smoke.

The 18-year-old Chen Jia was communicating with her father via SMS.  At 15:42 on March 14, she said an SMS to her father: "Dad, they are killing people by our store.  We are scared and we are staying inside the store.  Please do not worry about me.  You tell mama and sister not to go out."  More than 10 minutes later, the rioters set fire to the store and 18-year-old Chen Jia was dead.

Amongst the five dead young girls was a 21-year-old Tibetan who came from the Rigaze district.  Her elder brother took her aunt to Lhasa, and when the aunt who have heart problems visited the scene, she passed out.  The brother said that his sister was the brightest and prettiest of the siblings in a family of 13, and she sent most of her wages home.  "She is such a wonderful child.  We all try to lead decent lives.  So why did these people do this to her?" said the brother.

Perhaps you don't like the official version, but there are plenty of civilian accounts such as the one by the Phoenix TV Reporter In Lhasa.  Here is the difference -- Chinese people like Hecaitou can read English and they know what the western readers are being fed.  As Chinese people, they also read plenty more written in Chinese that remains inaccessible to westerners (see, for example, the collection at  That is why they resent the condescending attitudes of westerners who try to educate and instruct them.

Faced with the rounds of condemnation in the western media on the Tibet policy, the Chinese government adopted its usual stance of news censorship.  To their surprise, a group of Chinese netizens have spontaneously risen to challenge the western media.  A 7-minute video clip entitled "Tibet was, is and always will be part of China" generated almost 1.2 million viewings and more than 72,000 comments in the past three days.

Deutsche Welle interviewed the anonymous netizen who said: "I wanted to let the true voice of the Chinese people be heard.  Perhaps not everyone who had been bombarded by the western media can see the video or understand it, I still want more people to know."  This netizen was born in Xian and immigrated with his family to Canada when he was 15 years old.  He is now 21 years old and is in his second year in university for a business degree.  On the afternoon March 15, almost all the north American media were reporting on the disturbances in Tibet.  Out of dissatisfaction with the western media, he prepared a video and posted it onto YouTube.  Within two minutes, he received the first response.  That night, he went to sleep at 2am.  When he woke up at 6am, there were more than 500 email.  The whole world on YouTube was supporting me ... from the United States, Canada, England, France ... the response on the Internet was 100 times bigger than I imagine.  I am especially grateful to the overseas Chinese.  No matter if they grew up in China or overseas, we know that we have Chinese blood.  The DW reporter asked for picture of this netizen, who declined and said: "If you want a photo, please use one of the 56 ethnic groups of China."

Two days after the aforementioned video appeared, another video titled Riot in Tibet: True Face of Western Media appeared on YouTube.  The caption said: "This video reveals how western media make fake reporting about riot in Tibet by modifying and misjudging pictures purposely."  The video contained information published in western media including the German NTV, Bild Zeitung, RTL television and Washington Post which are suspected of using photos of Nepalese police beating demonstrators for Chinese police action in Lhasa.  The Berliner Morgenpost and BBC mislabeled a photo of the Chinese police rescuing a civilian as arresting the person.  The American television channel CNN deliberately cropped a photo that showed demonstrators throwing rocks at army trucks.  The German Spiegel magazine was also accused of using misleading titles to give the wrong cue from a photo.  This video has accumulated more than 350,000 views and 13,000 comments on YouTube already.  The author had clearly done a lot of research on western media research, and this video (and its screen captures) has been applauded by the Chinese public.