(TibetanReview.net, Feb24’20) – Following protests by various Tibet groups, with support from a US lawmaker, the Queens Public Library in New York City announced Feb 21 that it was no longer displaying a controversial Chinese government sponsored exhibition about what was stated to be the life and customs of Tibet at its Elmhurst branch. The exhibit was removed the next day, reported jacksonheightspost.com and rfa.org Feb 24. Planned exhibits at several other locations were also cancelled.
The library has said that the Chinese Consulate and its affiliate that put together the exhibit, titled Everyday Life in Tibet, had made the decision to discontinue it.
More than 150 people had protested outside the Elmhurst library for ten days earlier this month while an online petition demanding its closure had garnered more than 4,600 signatures, said the jacksonheightspost.com report.
Various Tibetan groups had called for the display to be shut down, saying it painted an unrealistic picture of life in the country and called it propaganda.
In particular, the protesters said the display whitewashed China’s human rights abuses and falsely depicted Tibet as a place where freedom of religion and language rights was being respected.
The exhibit featured photographs of cultural events, various landmarks, and of children writing in Tibetan.
It had been on display at the library since Feb 3 and was scheduled to travel through six other Queens Public Libraries until June; but this has now been cancelled.
Speaking at a rally outside the library, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-New York’s 3rd District)—a member of the bipartisan US Congressional Executive Commission on China—called the outcome of the ten-day campaign “a major victory for Tibet.”
“We have to stand up for human rights for all people in the world. I will continue to fight for you,” the rfa.org reported quoted Suozzi as saying.
Also, Students for a Free Tibet, a group that advocates for Tibet’s political freedom and spearheaded the campaign for the exhibit’s removal, has said the announcement was a huge victory for Tibet and the Tibetan community in Queens.