Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blogdai Interviews Kadfly

Who is Kadfly you ask? None but a single young traveler who happened to be in Lhasa when the uprising began. Kadfly's photos were the first and most definitive account of events on the ground during that turbulent time. His reporting of the situation in Lhasa on his blog trumped any official Chinese attempts to stifle coverage. He's been hailed as brave, threatened, applauded and cursed simply for being willing to give as unbiased account of the Lhasa riots as he could. He speaks directly to blogdai below. -=BD

(Above)Police at the Lhasa riots. Photo by Kadfly, NOT the BBC, NOT Reuters, NOT CNN, and NOT The New York Times
Hi Blogdai,

I forwarded your questions to my kadfly e-mail to verify my identity since I post about this e-mail address in this post (along with why I no longer have access to the photos on my SD card). It is also for my own purposes as I would like all blog-related correspondence to now go to this address. (
Kadfly@gmail.com) If you need me to make a post or something on the blog to further verify my identity just let me know.

I will try my best to answer your questions below:
(blogdai questions in bold)Much has been made of the Riots in Lhasa. Both the Tibetan and Chinese versions differ significantly. What, from your first-hand observations, started the whole thing and what seemed to be the greatest instigating factor?

It seems the protests by the monks in the days leading up to the 14th led to a response by the Chinese and this response in turn led directly to the riots. The whole thing on the 14th really seemed to kick off with the blockading of the Ramoche Monastery: this seemed to infuriate ordinary Tibetans and the riot began minutes after the Chinese police were dropped off on Beijing Donglu to close the alley leading to the Temple.

Which media side seems to be the worst at fairly representing events as you witnessed them?

I haven't been that exposed to what the Chinese media is reporting, to be honest. But the photo cropping allegations (CNN and the trucks being stoned) and the use of pictures of police brutality from Nepal to illustrate stories about what was happening in Tibet does make me believe the Western media has not tried particularly hard to fairly represent the event. But as I said, I'm not aware of what the Chinese is doing so I cannot really compare the two. That said, I do hold the Western media to a higher standard than their Chinese counterparts, for obvious reasons :P.

Your photos have been picked up (uncredited) by the BBC, CNN and the front page of the New York Times. Some media renderings show only partial aspects of your photos which may imply a meaning that differed from the original photo. What is your opinion/experience with the Western media's use of your material and coverage of the events in Lhasa?

My main concern is how the Western media decided to completely ignore the violence of the protesters and concentrate on the resulting crackdown, which I actually had not witnessed. They used the police shields photo as a sign of Chinese strength, for example, without pointing out that seconds after the photo was taken the Chinese police actually fled for their lives.

As you may have observed, the Olympic torch relay has become a public relations disaster for the Beijing and International Olymice committees. Your coverage of events in Lhasa differed from the official Chinese version of events and may have been a significant catalyst in the torch demonstrations we see worldwide today. Did you ever have a sense of the importance your live coverage of the riots would carry in terms of world events today?

No, and I still don't think it has been very important, to be honest. I think all of this would have happened with or without our photos. Tibetans know this year is their chance to really force the issue.

There are many theories that ethnic Hans were just trying to work and make a living in Lhasa and that the real obstinance resided in the PCC and Chinese administration in Tibet. Do you think such a two-tiered Chinese presence exists in Lhasa?

I really don't think I am familiar enough with Lhasa or Tibet more generally to comment on this. But I think it is plausible: I met an ethnic Han person from Singapore who ran a coffee shop in Lhasa, for example, who I sincerely doubt is trying in any way to crush Tibetan independence. Similarly, I met an ethnic Han person from Hong Kong who was looking to start his own company in Lhasa who would regularly laugh at the official Chinese coverage of the riots.

Internet access was heavily scrutinized during the riots and the Chinese government has threatened to block all connections during the olympics. Did you feel watched or scrutinized during the times you posted to your blog from Lhasa?

At the Yak Hotel we first uploaded photos via the public internet room. A man (I think one of the managers of the hotel) came into this room mid-afternoon, yelled at the girls who worked there for letting us use the computers, and went to each computer and turned them off without saying a single word to any of us. But for some reason (they probably just forgot) they left private internet connections within rooms open so once we had a laptop we were again free to upload photos. As time went on I often felt like people might be listening to my cell phone or reading my blog postings and e-mails but I think this was paranoia more than anything. The internet police were definitely not trying very hard to shut down either internet connections or the cell phone network.

Tibet is scheduled to reopen May 1 to tourists. What will they find in Lhasa?
Some ruins, troops/police still in the streets but life as usual other than that is my guess. This has basically been the situation since March 18th, from what I hear.
Your blog received hundreds of postings during your stay in Lhasa. Many posters were angry pro-government supporters. Have you received any further or secondary contact from Chinese officials or supporters since your departure from Tibet?

No. All contact with those who read my blog who I do not know personally has been limited to the comments section with the exception of you and a few journalists.

Did you receive any other significant contacts, invitations or acknowledgements from your coverage?

Only from you :P. I will be receiving some portion of $2800 US from Reuters (a portion is going to our journalist contact who brought my blog to the attention of the major news agencies and negotiated on our behalf) which I will be donating and I have been interviewed by some media outlets.

How was the border crossing into Nepal? We understand security was stepped up significantly, is this true?

No, actually. Security may have been beefed up before the 20th or after (the day we arrived in Zhangmu) but crossing that particular day was extremely easy (and there were no extra officers than was necessary). Everyone in our group was hiding their memory cards and the such but it was completely unnecessary. The Chinese customs people appeared bored if anything and didn't even ask if we had come from Lhasa. It couldn't have been any more ordinary except for the journalists on the Nepalese side.

The world seemed quite taken by your coverage. Perhaps it was because you came off as a concerned traveler who was just caught up in the moment. Do you have any plans to re-visit Tibet? What, if anything, can you tell us about your immediate furture plans?

Yes, I would love to revisit Tibet. I don't have any plans at the moment but I know I will return. I will be finishing my trip in India and flying home at the end of the month.

Good, bad, indifferent or otherwise, is there anything you would like to add?

Not at the moment, but feel free to ask more if you need to.

Hope this helps,



At 8:17 PM, April 15, 2008, Blogger June said...

Thank you Blogdai and Kadfly for taking the time to provide us with a comprehensive interview. Both of your blogs are extremely informative during this trying time and I would like to thank you sincerely on behalf of your readers.

A lot has been said and exchanged at the kadfly.blogspot.com since Kadfly's pictures and postings. My personal belief has not changed that Tibetans have suffered undue oppression and have rightfully called attention from the world. I found CCP hacks' propaganda filled with half-truths, twisted logic, and self-congratulatory for a tragic event of China's - Tibet.

On a personal level, Chinese are probably getting more civilized and modernized as time goes on. A few visits I made to China gave me the indication that they are serious about making progress. And as a Han Chinese myself, I am happy for the progress and look forward to more.

The discrepancy exists, nonetheless, between China's and the right attitudes toward minority and true democracy. You almost couldn't blame the Chinese, if they have been isolated by their government for decades from the outside world.

This is hoping that the Internet, with the work like Blogdai's and Kadfly's, will inform the vast audience in China to compare and contrast with what they are spoon fed by their own official media, and wake up to the reality. And this is also hoping that Tibetans will come out of oppression through either International help, or Chinese awareness or the combination of both. Overseas Chinese especially should stop being accomplice to China's crackdown on Tibet or any other human rights violation issues such as the Fa Lung Gong persecution.

At 8:48 AM, April 17, 2008, Blogger dorjee said...


So the "western" media has been reporting only a part of the story?

1. from the beginning I have seen in "western" medias reports of "rioting" of tibetans and the beatings you have witnessed.

Man, your comments are a bad JOKE. What about your "reporting" of the story? part or whole?

You have focused entirely on your posts on the tibetans that acted violently and your cherished pictures (what does that amount to totally? 2, 3 beatings, and apparently you said it yourself, not to a severity of unconsciousneess of the victim. Then the burning of a shop that led accidentally to the death of 5 persons including a tibetan).

this focusing is your perspective. You do not hide your condemning of that. What about condemning the indecent killings done by the other side that completely and grossly overshadows a punctual couple of beatings??

You are really in a position to condemn "part reporting"!!!

Western medias do a GREAT better job than you. Most are really professionals that put snapshots in their context and perspectives.

But it is still unsufficient because they almost always only report death casualties (chinese official say there where only chinese victims since the revolt. What a LIE. Tibetans report nearly 200 shot at point or in detention right after, with names and many photo evidence).

But death casualties are only "part of the story", as you like to name it. 3000 tibetans have been arrested and are tortured now. That is going on NOW.

Out of a couple of beatings and burned shops done by only a few. This is completely forgotten by "western" media. Although it IS the most horrible actually. Because death ends your suffering immediatly. Torture in jail does not.

Then you claim that Dharamsala is engaged in propaganda like PRC.

Man, what makes you tell that???
What makes you tell that HH DAlai Lama and his government is lying about what happens there?
HH Dalai Lama has won the peace nobel prize, addressed us unequivocally to say to not revolt with fists, although we are BOILING, and that is the most legitimate reaction. We had enough of the gestapo, the killing and humiliation.

How can you come and give us lessons in "peace"?? Where is your life experience of oppression and torture?
You ve done your dysneyland tour of Tibet and China (I have seen very few sarcasms on your chinese posts compared to the ones in India, by the way), and think you are in a position to get involved in reporting to the world of the violent tibetans??

There is a big PROBLEM: now millions of brainwashed ignorant chinese are calling for the killing of tibetans and any "race traitors" chinese that take side for dialogue and compromises.
Your reporting HELPS a lot!

I m not so much here to comment on you than discuss with chinese, progressist or not.
But I m apalled by your so called neutral, "radical moderate" posts.

You say you are young. Well, very immature i would say.

btw, thanks June. You are one of few chinese that is really progressist. You give people like Hu Jia reasons to believe they have not sacrificed for nothing

At 10:14 PM, April 17, 2008, Blogger June said...


Thank YOU for being the voice of justice at Kadfly's blog which was filled about 90% if not more with the CCP hacks' propaganda. But the more they try to spread the lies and their ridiculous logic, the more pathetic they look, not only to me but to the entire world.

My heart goes out to you and all Tibetans within Tibet and overseas. Only the people who had been oppressed can understand how very painful it is.

I am a Han Chinese without being under China's Communist control one day because fortunately my parents' generation had escaped the invasion of communism. But the not so lucky relatives are always in their mind. I will never forgive the fact that China opened fire on the unarmed students on Tiananmen Square in 1989. When those hacks scolded me for not being able to "move on" and "forever living in 1989", I wonder why they didn't use the same logic with Tibet to "move on", but insist Tibet "was, is, and will always be China's".

China has a vicious government that does not hesitate to crack down on the opposition regardless the race. In addition, China government has a very biased and condescending attitude toward minorities which is against our founding father Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's assertion of the peaceful coexistence among the Han and all minorities. I had argued with students from China and asked them how they would feel if they were on the receiving end of their despising attitude as minorities in China. I believe this is part of the central government's educational direction, which also results in the general hostile attitude that China people have toward the US.

Thank you Dorjee for fighting a good fight. Please know that even if it looked as if you were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the hacks, they were only fooling themselves by flooding the blogs all over the world with their propaganda. This is a fact that has been pointed out repeatedly but the hacks are shamelessly staying around.

China's violent crackdown on Tibet is no longer overlooked. The whole world is watching. Tibetan people have our sympathy and support. Dalai Lama did not win respect all over the world under China's relentless smear campaign for no reason. China's continued challenging the intelligence and patience of the international society will have severe consequences. We are demanding China for a much cleaner human rights record.

Tibet will prevail. Justice will prevail. Free Tibet!!!

At 10:55 PM, April 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My God!

I have just returned from Nepal to visit this Blog!

What changes!

I have some questions:

(1) Who is June and why is she allowed to be writing b*ll sh*t on this blog?

(2) Why have you forgotten your country Blogdai?

(3) Why are you ignoring the single most important political event in Nepal (your country) for god knows how long for the media hysteria surrounding Tibet, China and the Olympics?

(4) I daresay the absence of comments is the consequence of all this. Looking at previous posters -they would tend to agree with me!


At 6:28 AM, April 18, 2008, Blogger dorjee said...

Thank you so much June for your support.
PLease be careful and never give a hint of your identity on the net and in real life as well unless you are really trusting your chinese friends, if you would raise the issue with them.
Wang Qianyuan is going through hell because of her constructive attitude. In the US and in China

At 3:42 PM, April 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well blogdai....
this is a song supposedly sung by CHE but from a great musical...song popped into my head the moment the Maoists swept to power...think it makes a great requiem for the Palace...

Oh what a circus! Oh what a show!
Kathmandu has gone to town
Over the death of an act called monarchy
We've all gone crazy
Mourning all day and mourning all night
Falling over ourselves to get all
Of the misery right
he had his moments--he had some style
The best show in town was the crowd
Outside the Naryan Hitti crying, Happy Birthday
But that's all gone now
As soon as the smoke from the funeral clears
We're all going to see and how they did nothing for years!

Oh what an exit! That's how to go!
When they're ringing your curtain down
Demand to be buried like monarchy
It's quite a sunset
And good for the country in a roundabout way
We've made the front page of all the world's papers today

Show business kept us all alive
Since 1 June 2001
But the star has gone, the glamour's worn thin
That's a pretty bad state for a state to be in
You let down your people Monarchy
You were supposed to have been immortal
That's all they wanted
Not much to ask for
But in the end you could not deliver
Sing you fools? But you got it wrong
Enjoy your prayers because you haven't got long
Your Royalty is dead, your Koirala is through
Freedoms not coming back to you !!!!!!!!!

At 4:34 PM, April 18, 2008, Blogger June said...

Dorjee, I am very grateful for your concern. And you do the same! You, I and the rest of the world are in this together. China must clean up its human rights record toward Tibetans, Wang Qianyuan and a long list of suffering souls among which many belong to the peaceful Fa Lung Gong. Tibetans, to me, are doing a favor not only to themselves, which they are rightfully doing, but shining bright light on China's human rights record that can no longer be ignored by the world.


I sincerely doubt you are that faithful a reader of Blogdai's blog. June's b*ll sh*t has been here for 10 days and you just found it? You think by checking Blogdai's postings so sporadically entitles you to criticize who he should "allow" to write b*ll sh*t?

I have improved from spewing cow sh*t to b*ll sh*t, thanks to people like you who visit, oh, every half a month, or 6 weeks or so. Without your sincere criticism, I could have stayed where I was, 100% cow sh*t!

I am scratching my head as to how Blogdai forgot "his country" any more than you do? I saw multiple analyses from him about the election already which you didn't even read! Why were you not trying to catch up with your reading?

The absense of comments? Could it be attributed to people like Gagan who only visit every a few weeks? If they were not visiting, they couldn't comment, could they?

Okay the fun is over Gagan. Where have you been for the past at least 10 days? Have you forgotten your country? Why haven't you talked about the single most important thing in your life, the Nepal election? It is so importan that you forgot to read Blogdai's blog? How dare you? And you screamed at Blogdai for moving on to June? Your absence left such a void, June's b*ll sh*t seems to be better than nothing! Can you blame Blogdai for settling? When are you promising to come back to criticize us again? Next year? Should we hold our breath?

At 1:55 AM, April 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been in Nepal for the last 10 days participating in the CA election rather.

So yes, Blogdai has forgotten his country. He writes on Tibet now and only comments on Nepal when prompted.

This would explain why people are not visiting any more.

June, you do appear to suffer from verb diarrhea. A terrible affliction that causes dull aching of the temples when reading this blog.

I am so glad you are irrelevant. Otherwise, I would have to eat my hat in desperation at a global epidemic of cardboard cut out activists.

At 4:03 PM, April 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Falun Gong activitist spoke. People from all over the world laughed.

At 8:42 PM, April 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tibetans report nearly 200 shot at point or in detention right after, with names and many photo evidence"

A list of names is not evidence, the photo "evidence" you talk about are just close ups of dead bodies with no context. The exile government has not provide how they even derived their body count. You are quick to condemn mouth pieces like Xinhua but you are more than willing to swallow your own propaganda. Why do I use this term? Easy, making allegations with no verifiable evidence to advance your agenda is propaganda.

Your trivialization and justification of the deadly Lhasa riot is disgraceful. While I agree there are human rights violations in China, albeit not to the extent that you allege, two wrongs do not make a right.

At 12:09 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Annie said...

"... spoon fed by their own official media"? June, your comments acutally remind me of something a friend said. He said that the difference of Western people and Chinese people is that Chinese people DO NOT believe any media, not CCP media, not western media, not to mention FLG junk. Obviously you all overestimate the influence of Chinese official media.

At 4:11 PM, April 21, 2008, Blogger blogdai said...

Over or underestimation of the Chinese media is not the issue.

Any type of estimation, trust or distrust of the media can only be accurately assessed when ALL sides and perspectives of a story are present.

China actively and verifiably supresses the open, dissentive and often contentious expression of a free media; chosing only to present stories and versions of events that paint China in a positive light.

All atrocities and human rights violations are justified through the examples of world history rather than accepted and acknowledged as socially and morally wrong.

In such a climate, how can the characterization of "spoon fed" be any less than accurate?


At 2:25 AM, April 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

blogdai said...
Over or underestimation of the Chinese media is not the issue.

Any type of estimation, trust or distrust of the media can only be accurately assessed when ALL sides and perspectives of a story are present.

me:yes, i agree with that.

China actively and verifiably supresses the open, dissentive and often contentious expression of a free media; chosing only to present stories and versions of events that paint China in a positive light.

me: How do you know that?

All atrocities and human rights violations are justified through the examples of world history rather than accepted and acknowledged as socially and morally wrong.

me: Be cautious of using the word "All". You are saying about justice, but is there actually any absolute justice? Take your "free media" for example, media is free of reporting what is going on legally. But what if the media only reports part of the issue which maybe totally wrong on the whole(e.g. as the cropped picture in CNN). Isn't it another kind of atrocity of CNN? If yes, does CNN being justified? How can it being justified?

In such a climate, how can the characterization of "spoon fed" be any less than accurate?

me:there is a phrase "dont give sb a hat(Chinese translated to English)" usually used in the dispute between chinese to avoid such nonsense. I say it to you, dont give the hat to "them", they have the ability to know whether it is or not. And they have these rights, aren't they?

me: derser123

One more word: when you say "up", you also have "down"; when you say "free something", you also have "responsibility". You get something, you must contribute something.
Otherwise, you lose the freedom of keep it.

At 10:51 AM, April 23, 2008, Blogger June said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:53 AM, April 23, 2008, Blogger June said...


I was not going to honor your convoluted writing with a response.

But the last part of your writing spoke to what Tibet deserves,

"You get something, you must contribute something.
Otherwise, you lose the freedom of keep it." [sic]

Exactly my sentiment about China with Tibet. China's wrongdoing in Tibet has helped China lose the freedom of keeping it.

At 8:56 PM, April 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry for the writing. At least, you know the quotation. But I'd say you misunderstand it. Ok, I follow your understanding here. Your make an assumption that China did something wrong to Tibet. But the assumption is at least in disputation. And currently we can't say China do anything wrong to Tibet for the 3.14 riot. The article is mainly about the riot. You are off the track. The one you should blame on is the rioters which represent nobody but themselves. It's irrelevant to the relation between China and Tibet. Hence, you did wrong in this affair(You are off-topic),you lose the freedom of keeping it(Don't be off-topic).

At 12:12 PM, April 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, after reading what is written on the interview. I feel I have to pay my great respect to Kadfly.

China is clearly winning on the Tibetan issue. In fact the protests may turn out to be a positive thing for the Chinese gov. For the reasons:

1) It (I mean the western media) rallied many, mostly young (i.e. future generation) Chinese people behind their government.

2) The western media effectively pressed the self-destruction button in China, especially at a time when they are just being opened to the Chinese public. What a first impression! Reputations takes years to rebuild. And the chances of West trying to "convert" Chinese population through media is now grim at best.

3) Any sympathy that existed in the Chinese public towards the Free-Tibet movement, however small before, is now completely gone.

4) It is now much harder for other countries to use the Olympics as a boycotting tool. The torch relay may be a PR disaster for the Chinese gov. But more or less it survived through it and is coming out some-what stronger. And most importantly, the torch relay acted as a immunisation jab, and future protests in the Games itself will be seen as "normal" and uninteresting. It also provides a perfect excuse to step-up policing etc to protect the Games.

At 10:01 PM, April 24, 2008, Anonymous sonamsan said...

wow, Great job Blog Dai,
Two Thumbs up!

At 7:46 PM, April 25, 2008, Blogger Jerry said...

I'm a US journalist trying to get in touch with one of the writers of your blog (I'm looking for a fixer in Nepal). Please email me asap at: ji.guo@yale.edu.

Thanks very much, Jerry.

At 8:26 PM, April 25, 2008, Blogger blogdai said...


Contact me personally at blogdai@nepalimail.com.

State which "writer" you are referring to and I will contact them for permission. This is after an IP check of your location, of course. All other details can be discussed.

Sorry, but source protection is very important to us here at blogdai.



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