Photos of soldiers-monks on movie set claimed to be from Lhasa unrest
ICT does not regard this photo as credible evidence of Chinese soldiers disguising themselves as Buddhist monks during unrest in Lhasa last month. This image is most likely from a movie set in which soldiers dressed as monks to serve as extras. ICT is in possession of similar images dating from 2001.
In recent weeks images showing soldiers in Tibet carrying monks’ robes have been distributed widely across the internet, with some commentators claiming they provide evidence that Chinese soldiers disguised themselves as Buddhist monks during unrest in Lhasa last month. ICT does not regard the images as credible evidence of this claim. Similar images, of soldiers carrying monks’ robes in the Jokhang, are in ICT’s possession, taken during a film shoot in Lhasa which involved soldiers appearing as monks. These current images are likely to be the same – in recent years soldiers have been hired to play monks in both Chinese propaganda movies and in mainstream foreign films – for instance, Michelle Yeoh’s ‘The Touch’, shot in Lhasa in 2001.
The images were initially published in an article by Gordon Thomas in Canada Free Press on March 21 but the article was quickly taken off Canada Free Press’s website. Further background information on the circumstances of the article can be found at: