Update: The China Tibet Quake
one big photo opp for the Chinese Communist Occupation.
Read our on the ground report here.
The official death tally is now at 1,400, but Tibetans widely report Chinese suppression of dead bodies. Also, there are widespread reports that Chinese are only rescuing bodies once they are discovered by the thousands of monks who, generally without the help of excavation equipment, have been digging through the rubble night and day for days now. The Chinese solders do, however, perform enthusiastically for the cameras:
NYTimes: The Buddhist monks stood atop the jagged remains of a vocational school, struggling to move concrete slabs with pickax shovels and bare hands. Suddenly a cry went out: An arm, clearly lifeless, was poking through the debris.
But before the monks could finish their task, a group of Chinese soldiers who had been relaxing on the school grounds sprang to action. They put on their army caps, waved the monks away, and with a video camera for their unit rolling, quickly extricated the body of a young girl.
The monks stifled their rage and stood below, mumbling a Tibetan prayer for the dead.
“You won’t see the cameras while we are working,” said one of the monks, Ga Tsai, who with 200 others, had driven from their lamasery in Sichuan Province as soon as they heard about the quake…
On Saturday at dusk, long after the rescue experts had called it quits, they could be still be seen working the rubble.“They are everything to us,” said Oh Zhu Tsai Jia, 57, opening the truck of his car so a group of young monks could pray over the body of his wife.
On Saturday morning, the monks ferried 1,400 bodies from the city’s main monastery to a dusty rise overlooking the city.
There, in two long trenches filled with salvaged wood, they dumped the dead and set cremation pyres ablaze.
As the fires burned for much of the day, hundreds of mourners sat mutely on a hillside next to the monks, who chanted aloud or quietly counted prayer beads of red coral and turquoise.
The police and Han officials were conspicuously absent.
The monastery’s leaders said no one from the local government had included their dead in the official tally although they were careful not to voice any criticism. Many of the younger monks, however, were not as reticent.
At the No. 3 Primary School, the monks said they had pulled 50 students from collapsed classrooms but when an official came by to ask how many had died, the police offered half that number. “I think they’re afraid to let the world know how bad this earthquake is,” said Gen Ga Ja Ba, a 23-year-old monk…read the whole story at New York Times—it’s infuriating.
The Dalai Lama, “deeply saddened” by the devastation of the earthquake, said Saturday he would like to visit the site of the earthquake — in the province where he was born — to offer solace to the survivors.
“Because of the physical distance between us, at present I am unable to comfort those directly affected, but I would like them to know that I am praying for them,” the Dalai Lama said in a statement. “To fulfill the wishes of many of the people there, I am eager to go there myself to offer comfort.”
In his statement, the Dalai Lama also applauded the Chinese authorities for visiting the affected areas and allowing the media to report on the quake.
hot on elephant
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