FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, February 15, 2020
Dorjee Tseten | Students for a Free Tibet | 646-753-3889 | Dorjee@Studentsforafreetibet.org
Call on the Queens Library to Reject China’s Propaganda and Stand Up for the Tibetan Community
NEW YORK — After meeting with the Queens Public Library (QPL) on Friday the 14th of February, Students for a Free Tibet was informed that QPL will not shut down or suspend the Chinese Consulate’s Tibet exhibit. Although they have agreed to advertise that the exhibit is sponsored by the Chinese Consulate, this does not go far enough to combat China’s offensive propaganda. Therefore, on Saturday the 15th of February from 1:00pm until 5:00pm, Students for a Free Tibet protested alongside the Tibetan Community of NY/NJ, the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, U.S. Tibet Committee, Chushi Gangdruk, and former Tibetan political prisoner Nyima Lhamo, at the Queens Public Library in Elmhurst. Over 150 people – Tibetans and non-Tibetan allies, adults and young people – all protested outside the library to say no to Chinese propaganda in their libraries and to encourage the library to promptly remove the exhibit.
The exhibit shows several pictures of Tibetans and Tibet and aims to educate viewers using distorted facts about the political status of Tibet. The exhibit depicts Tibet as a place where freedom of religion and language rights are respected – clear lies which whitewash China’s brutal human rights atrocities.
On Saturday, the protesters chanted “Queens Library: Don’t Support Chinese Propaganda!” and “Free Tibet,” resolutely calling for President Dennis Walcott, the President and CEO of the Queens Public Library, to immediately shut down the exhibit.
“As a Tibetan-American, I remember growing up and going to the library every weekend,” said Pema Doma, Campaigns Director at Students for a Free Tibet. “There are so many young Tibetans who go to this library and now they have to see an exhibition that shows that everything is fine in Tibet, when in reality they know about the plight of their families in Tibet. Imagine if a library had an exhibit which showed white Americans in blackface. This is how we Tibetans feel when we see photos on display of Chinese people proudly appropriating Tibetan dress.”
“The photos of Tibetans at the library have been hurting the sentiments of the Tibetan people,” said Ngawang Tharchin, President of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of NY/NJ. “Some people at the protests can’t even sleep. We want propaganda out of the library, and we don’t want the Chinese Communist Government to use the public library as its platform. On behalf of TYC, I call on the Queens Library and President Walcott to withdraw the photos.”
Protesters plan on continuing to protest until the exhibit is shut down.