The Chinese government denied any knowledge of such a plot.
It is possible to read such a description from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and think that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is, after all, rather old. Poisoned hair and scarves? (If one would be poisoned by touching the scarf, would one also not be poisoned by wearing the scarf? Would this plan not result in the deaths of the assassins? Is that the whole point?)
But again, one must remember Georgi Markov.
One must remember that in 1978, the Bulgarian defector- turned-journalist was waiting at his London bus stop when a man strolled past with his umbrella, poked him in the leg and poisoned him to death with the little pellet of ricin hiding in what was not, as you might have guessed, an umbrella, but rather an air gun concealed to look like one.
One must remember that incident.
One must also remember that Fidel Castro, according to his former security chief, was the victim of multiple poison-related U.S. assassination attempts in the 1960s. The entire premise of one relied on Castro accepting the gift of a wet suit that had been infused with fungal spores, which, theoretically, would have given him a skin disease called Madura foot if the plot had been carried out — which it wasn’t.
The Dalai Lama is safe. Repeat: According to our extensive intelligence (Googling), the Dalai Lama is safe.
But in an era of “targeted drone attacks,” it is surprising that such a cloak-and-dagger (cloak-and-vial?) rumor would start, because we have seen “CSI” and we have seen “Bones,” and we know what Emily Deschanel can uncover with postmortem tests. She could uncover poison.
“The golden era of poisoning was probably in the Renaissance,” says Paul Wax, the executive director of the American College of Medical Toxicology. “Italy and France — the Medici family was known to have a lot of poisoners. It was a common way to knock off people,” because it was virtually undetectable.
It was about this time in England that Sir Thomas Overbury was poisoned not once but four separate times, after he angered his friend the Earl of Somerset by speaking out against the earl’s extramarital affairs. His poisoner stirred arsenic into a variety of soups and tarts, but Sir Thomas didn’t die until, already weakened by three attempts on his life, he was given an enema of corrosive sublimate, which we now know as mercuric chloride, and which was used to treat patients with syphilis until doctors discovered it killed people instead. The Countess of Somerset admitted guilt; Sir Francis Bacon presided over the trial.