The "Tibet Today: Exposing the Truth" exhibition opens with photographs of pre-1949 independent Tibet, China's invasion, and recent Tibetan protests for freedom. (Photo/SFT)
DHARAMSHALA, March 27: The Chinese Consulate at Chicago has packed off their performances and opening ceremony during their exhibit “Tibet Today: Sight of Western China Photo Exhibition” at the University of Minnesota on Monday.
"There is a lesson here for China. If you want to improve your image abroad, do it by making genuine change on the ground inside Tibet, not by hosting a propaganda show to mislead the global public," said Tenzin Sonam, Regional Coordinator of SFT-Midwest.
Prior to the said exhibit, Tibetan organizations, including Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women's Association and Tibetan American Foundation-Minnesota, opened a parallel exhibit ‘Tibet Today: Exposing the Truth’ with pictures of independent Tibet, self-immolations and China’s repression in Tibet.
The Chinese opened their “propaganda” exhibition with photographs of smiling Tibetans waving the Chinese flag and other items, which Tibetans feel were “clearly aimed at whitewashing China's occupation of Tibet and misleading Western audiences into thinking Tibetans are happy under Chinese rule.”
According to the Tibetan organizers some of them and their supporters went the Consulate's exhibit to question them about China's brutalities in Tibet, the Tibetan protests and self-immolations.
The questions were met with blank stares and no answers.
However, a Chinese student performer reportedly said "I'm very interested in Tibet now. We were taught different [things]. I was at your exhibition. You Tibetans are very nice people"
Hours later, the Chinese exhibit cancelled their performances and opening ceremony.
The Tibetan exhibit on the hand over a hundred visitors while the Chinese Consulate's exhibit remained all but with no visitors.
The Chinese Consulate’s exhibition has reportedly remained closed for the second day.
"Armed with truth, information and nonviolence, we were able to shutdown China's expensive propaganda show in our backyard. This is something every Tibetan community and group can do quite easily every time a Chinese propaganda show comes to town," Tenzin Sonam added.
The five-day exhibit will remain open till Friday this week.