I am going to run this rather disturbing series of photos from Xinhua, and then we might append just a wee bit of commentary.
In case you didn't notice, these are what used to be called propaganda photos, and they are intended to make a case. The case is, while we were busy saving lives, we were also busy saving "cultural relics." Any damage done to said "cultural relics" was done by the earthquake and not by us. We are guarding and preserving "cultural relics," and we are making a meticulous record of everything we find.
There is also a darker sub-text. That mani wall you see collapsed and killed a woman. That statue of Guru Rinpoche and the stupas did not protect you. We are protecting them. We are protecting you. We are the ones who make the decisions.
To be effective, a propaganda photo must instantly communicate an obvious point to the target audience, and at the same time, leave a subliminal imprint carrying the propagandist's true message.
Those are armed, paramilitary police in the photographs.
Read as you will.
Nothing is real.
Note: We are continuously updating links to earthquake coverage at our consolidation page, here.