John Gittings


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View beneath prayer flags at Dalai Lama's birthplace, Taktser

The Guardian, September 8, 2008
Recognised at the age of three as the reincarnation of a Tibetan lama, he became the abbot of a great monastery, but as a young man he also underwent another remarkable transformation. After rejecting overtures from the Chinese communists, who hinted that he should get rid of his brother, he left Tibet in 1951 for the US under the sponsorship of a CIA-front organisation. Within a few years he was helping the Americans to promote covert guerrilla warfare against the occupation of his homeland.
The Guardian, March 23, 2008
One image above all from the Tibetan crisis will have stunned President Hu Jintao and his colleagues in Beijing. It is that of dozens of young men on horseback, whooping wildly as they ride round Bora monastery in Gansu province, urging fellow Tibetans to storm a government building, demand freedom and hoist their own flag.
Taktser, Qinghai province
The Guardian, February 08, 2003
High up on a dusty plateau in the village of Taktser lies the only shrine to the Dalai Lama to be found in China. It is in the house where he was born, and is lovingly cared for by a nephew. On the altar is a photo of the exiled spiritual leader, some ritual brass bowls which he sent from India, and a letter written in his own hand.
The Guardian, February 09, 2002
It's true that average incomes are only half of those in the 'interior'," says Wang Dianyuan, head of Tibet's planning development committee. "Our most important goal now is to raise the standard of living."
Mr Wang describes an "exciting scheme" to transform the region. Like many official plans it goes by numbers, from one to four: "One is for the new railway now being built from the 'interior' up to Lhasa; two is for two new airfields; three is for improving three main roads; four is for building four new power stations."
The Guardian, February 08, 2002
It is early morning outside the Potala Palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama, pilgrims from all over Tibet have begun the sacred circuit - and the Chinese flag is flying in the breeze.
Nomads with sunburnt faces as dark as their cloaks, Khampa ex-warriors with red tassels in their hair, farmers with leggings, their wives with striped aprons, plus ordinary folk from the city, old and young, walk briskly in the grey dawn.
Many twirl their prayer wheels, some prostrate themselves on mats, and one or two even drive a sheep before them around the circuit. The lucky animal is then allowed to live to the end of its natural days.
(from China Through the Sliding Door)

Pilgrims at the Jokhang, Lhasa, 2002

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