The Cultural Palace of Nationalities in Beijing has a new exhibit commemorating the "50th Anniversary of Democratic Reforms in Tibet," a sweeping masterpiece of propaganda that provides one of the few available glimpses of contemporary China.
Excerpt: Gone from Tibet are the shackled slaves, the thumbscrews and the scorpion pits that awaited serfs who defied their masters. Gone, too, is the Dalai Lama, that "jackal clad in Buddhist monk's robes," who fled to India 50 years ago this week during an uprising that China claims was aimed at preserving his feudalistic rule.
With Tibet closed to foreign journalists and much of the region suddenly, and mysteriously, troubled by patchy phone and Internet service, the only way to get a glimpse of contemporary Tibet these days is by visiting the Cultural Palace of Nationalities, a socialist-style confection whose current exhibition, "50th Anniversary of Democratic Reforms in Tibet," is getting rave reviews from the soldiers, schoolchildren and government officials who are bused in day after day.
With its display cases of gruesome torture devices, grainy film scenes of mutilated faces and the "liberation" shots of beaming Tibetans, the exhibit is a propagandist tour de force that reinforces the Communist Party's unbending version of history during what is referred to here as a "sensitive time."