In the report below, a visitor to a Beijing exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of democratic reforms carried out in 1959 in Tibet is described as looking "at guns used by Chinese soldiers". (The 1959 reforms followed an uprising by senior monks and upper class Tibetans and freed the region from its feudal theocratic system. As the head of that system the Dalai Lama, who had pretended to cooperate with Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party, chose to side with the reaction and fled to India.)
Before we look again at this picture and its caption, one might well ask, "What else was on display here? What other exhibits might there be about either the system that was replaced, or the new way of life that emerged in Tibet after 1959? Why was this the only image chosen to represent the exhibition? Are the Chinese so blood-thirsty that they would really display the guns that they had used to 'suppress' the Tibetans? Are they boasting about their 'invasion' and 'dictatorship'?"
But the truth will out! The labels on the exhibition reveal a different reality to that dreamed up by Agence France Presse reporter Peter Parks, and gleefully replicated by other anti-China media.
The label closest to the front actually reads (in Chinese and English) "A Bren machine gun used by rebels in 1959".
The second label, on the bottom of the wall at the rear of the display case actually reads "An M1A1 Thompson machine gun used by rebels in 1959."
The Chinese captions additionally reveal that both weapons were manufactured in England, hinting at connections between the Tibetan reactionary ruling class and the imperialists.
We have seen this sort of deliberate falsehood before: Nepalese police of the old regime attacking Tibetan exiles in Kathmandu being passed off as Chinese police "attacking innocent Tibetan civilians in Lhasa" during last March's shameful campaign against the international passage of the Olympic torch.
Caught out once again, the capitalist press must always be regarded with suspicion as a source of misinformation about workers' struggles, liberation movements...progressive politics of any kind.