From my alma mater, via Gawker, comes the most disturbing newspaper correction I’ve seen in — um, ever.

CORRECTION: This submission misstates that one Dalai Lama admitted to having sex with hundreds of men and women while knowing that he had AIDS. Additionally, the submission misstates that many monks participated in the dismemberment of female bodies. In fact, there is no factual evidence to substantiate either of these claims. Spectator regrets the error.

Wow. I guess the philosophy is, when misstating facts, misstate big.

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4 Responses

  1. bill says:

    What, no allegations of cannibalism? Chinese propaganda is really slipping.

  2. A.J. Sutter says:

    Expressio unius exclusio alterius est: reading the original piece, it’s interesting to see the allegations that Columbia Spectator implicitly suggests *are* substantiated by factual evidence. E.g., statements about tortures, monasteries decorated with human limbs, the Tibetan legal system, etc.

    Since the opinion piece is by a college junior with a Chinese surname, possibly her family is from the PRC … Does this represent typical PRC education about Tibet? She writes, “Yet while the Dalai Lamas have received much praise over the years, the history of the title is far from pristine. One Dalai Lama has admitted to having sex with a hundred men and women, knowing all the while that he had AIDS.” Since AIDS was discovered around 1980, and the current DL has held that title since the 1950s, logically she could only be referring to the current one. But if, as suggested by the two sentences taken together, she sincerely believed it might be a different DL, maybe the misinformation promulgated in the PRC is wider and deeper than one might have imagined. Why move the start point of AIDS back by three decades or more?

    Two or three years ago, a British film crew went to Beijing and showed a photo of the Tian An Men tank incident to some top students from Qinghua. None of them knew what it was, and most thought it came from a movie or some other fictional work. (Of course, maybe some knew and didn’t admit. But if so, then since they could have recognized the photo and criticized the demonstrators, the most likely cause for their reticience was not wanting to reveal they’d been accessing information sources that lacked government approval.) What’s scary is that Chinese nationals educated at Qinghua or Columbia represent the elites of their country — they’ll be running the government in a few years. Hu Jintao is just the first in what could be a long line of Kool-Aid drinkers. Even an Ivy League education isn’t necessarily an antidote.

  3. A.J. Sutter says:

    An update on the AIDS issue: a letter in the 2008/04/18 Spectator mentions that the allegations were apt as to an American-born teacher of Tibetan Buddhism in Boulder, Colorado, and that, assuming the Columbia student’s allegations weren’t purely malicious, she had confused the terms “lama” and “Dalai Lama”. So maybe PRC propaganda isn’t to blame for that howler. Also, in the couple of hours since I wrote the post above, Spectator has removed the original piece from its website.

  4. “…Spectator mentions that the allegations were apt as to an American-born teacher of Tibetan Buddhism in Boulder, Colorado..,”

    is this the re-surfacing of Ward Churchill?