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Tibet exhibition in Bangladesh to go on despite Chinese pressure

November 4, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
October 31, 2009

Dharamsala, October 31 -- Representatives from
Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh on Thursday made
vain efforts to cancel a week-long Tibet
exhibition to be held in the Bangladeshi Capital Dhaka from Sunday.

Students for a Free Tibet, Bangladesh (SFTBD) in
partnership with Drik Bangladesh, a Dhaka-based
picture agency representing a group of media
professionals, is organising the exhibition
themed "Into Exile | Tibet 1949-2009" at Drik
Gallery in Dhaka from November 1 to 7.

According to the organisers, the exhibition will
display series of images to "portray, in whatever
small fraction, the journey of Tibetans from their Homeland to Exile."

This week, however, officials from Chinese
Embassy approached Dr. Shahidul Alam, Founder and
Managing Director of Drik Bangladesh, with gifts
asking him to cancel the exhibition.

"On 29th October 2009, Qian Kaifu, Cultural
Counselor, and Cao Yanhua, Cultural Attache, from
the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in
Bangladesh visited Dr Shahidul Alam to ask him to
cancel the exhibition," a spokesperson from
SFTBD, who asked not to be named, told Phayul.

"They brought Chinese gifts along with their request," the spokesperson added.

"Upon Dr Alam’s refusal to cancel the event, they
left and a certain Mr Helal, a Bangladeshi,
called to request the same," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the organisers are now
looking to confirm the identity of the Bangladeshi caller.

Having ignored Chinese pressure, the spokesperson
said the Tibet exhibition would now go on as planned.

Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed, Chairman, Transparency
International Bangladesh (TIB), will be the Chief
Guest of the exhibition when it opens at the Drik
Gallery at 5:30pm local time on Sunday. The
exhibition will then go on everyday from 3 to 8PM till November 7.

"Tibetans, both inside and outside Tibet have
demonstrated repeatedly for independence from
China. The fate of Tibet’s unique national,
cultural, environmental and religious identity
continues to be seriously threatened and
manipulated by the Chinese Government today," the
organizers said in their exhibition statement.

In March this year, Bangladeshi Tibet supporters
held the first ever "Free Tibet" protest in their country.

Some 40 activists, including famed musicians,
writers, artists and University students, took
part in the protest organised by the then newly
formed Bangladesh chapter of Students for a Free Tibet.

The protesters had marched towards the Chinese
Embassy in secured Baridhara area of Dhaka and
lit candles raising slogans to demand for a free
and peaceful Tibet before being arrested and detained by police.
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