What on earth are we to make of this picture:
Are they taking robes as presents for the monks as a goodwill gesture? Was the photograph actually taken this year?
(These are armed police acting as extras for a crowd scene. Big budget movies needing large crowds, such as soldiers in an ancient army, often ask armed police or soldiers to act. That’s because they are well trained and braver than ordinary people. This is a ridiculous phenomenon, but it often happens.)
That would make Gemini’s joke about costumes for a play quite relevant. The photograph appears to have been used for the back cover of the TCHRD 2003 Annual Report, which would make it at least five years old. A number of websites (eg. this one) are posting it along with an article from the Canada Free Press by Gordon Thomas - a writer whose startling exclusives have included the ‘revelation’ (as in hallucinatory dream) that Osama bin Laden was in China, keeping the peace in Xinjiang. Hmm, not sure I buy that one.
So, once again a picture tells a thousand words. But which words and what do they mean? That depends on what you want to believe.