By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, FEB 13: Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) carried out protests outside the Queens library which showcased Chinese government propaganda about Tibetans in Tibet.
The activists said that the library exhibited items that furthered Beijing’s narrative and hurt the sentiments of the Tibetan people including more than 10,000 Tibetans that live in New York. Dorjee Tseten, Director of SFT, urged all the Tibetans to support and sign the petition to “shut down Chinese government propaganda exhibition”.
The exhibition displayed contents that portrayed happiness of Tibetans under the governance of Chinese Communist Party (CCP); shows growth of railway lines, displays grand monasteries and stupas indicating religious freedom in Tibet, confirms 97.7% admission of Tibetan children into schools, and assures environmental protection in Tibet.
In the petition addressed to Dennis Walcott, President and CEO of Queens Public Library, the activist group urged the library “to stand with the truth and immediately shut down this exhibition.” The petition further reads, “The exhibition shows several pictures of Tibetans and Tibet and aims to educate viewers using distorted facts about the political status of Tibet. Queens is home to the largest Tibetan diaspora community outside of Asia. Many of these Tibetans have witnessed displacement, statelessness, and other brutalities propagated by the Chinese government.”
Additionally, the petition also said, “Despite what the exhibition claims, there is often no “synchronous teaching” of Chinese and Tibetan languages in primary schools. In fact, Tibetans who seek to teach the Tibetan language to the younger generation are ruthlessly punished and imprisoned. Look no further than the case of Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan who has been imprisoned for years for legally advocating for Tibetan language education.”
The activist groups called for protests outside the public library for three days from Feb 12-14. As of now, more than 1,630 people have already signed the petition and SFT is now attempting to secure a meeting with the president of the library on Friday.