March 31, 2008
Heard a lot about this one: British intelligence says Chinese soldiers dressed as monks were involved in — no, make that started — the Lhasa rioting. This finding would confirm the Dalai Lama's assertion that the violence was staged.
While this does not seem far-fetched, considering what Beijing is capable of, we should take all government intelligence with a shaker of salt, since we know it is ruthlessly used to achieve often very questionable political ends, and we have been given no proof. The whole idea seems a little whimsical, but so many of us want to believe it, since it confirms what we tend to believe about Tibetan monks and Tibetans more generally that they are not capable of the violence we have seen. That is to say, it makes an attractive narrative a little too neat. But not to be cynical — if it is true, good gracious.
But in any event, if British spy satellites are so good that they can spot Chinese soldiers donning monks' robes in Lhasa — why aren't they making my toast in the morning?