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Shanghai Expo's "Heavenly Tibet" Pavilion a Farce, Says Group

May 12, 2010

By Joan Delaney
Epoch Times Staff

Created: May 10, 2010
Last Updated: May 10, 2010


Crowds stand in line outside the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2010 in
Shanghai. The expo, the biggest in history, runs from May 1 to Oct. 31.
(Department of Canadian Heritage)
The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) is asking Canadian officials and
tourists visiting the Shanghai 2010 World Expo to stay away from the
pavilion showcasing Tibet.

The CTC?s Dermod Travis says the pavilion, called ?Heavenly Tibet,? is
an attempt by the Chinese regime to whitewash China?s human rights
abuses in Tibet.

The pavilion is billed as displaying ?the unique charms of Tibetan
culture, Tibetan people?s patriotism, resolution to make progress, and
aspiration for well-off life, peace, and harmony, through exhibited
items like Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Housing Project, multimedia
interactive streets, and short videos.?

Pointing to religious repression, and the arrest and imprisonment of
thousands of activists since the unrest in 2008, Travis says the
pavilion?s portrayal ?flies in the face of what the world knows all too
well about life inside Tibet.?

?We've always seen whenever China does any type of exhibit related to
Tibet, whether it's inside China or a traveling exhibit abroad, that
they present a very biased view, a very jingoistic view, talking about
the patriotism of Tibetans, their role, what they believe, and the
liberation of Tibet in 1949?which was in fact a military occupation of
the country,? he said.

Travis also notes that in addition to its failure to depict human rights
abuses, the pavilion does not include a single photo of the Dalai Lama,
Tibet?s spiritual leader who lives in exile in India.

Having a Tibet pavilion without mention of the Dalai Lama, he says, is
?equivalent to somebody doing a pavilion on the Roman Catholic faith and
not having a photo of the pope.?

?It's completely incongruous to ban a core element of Tibetan's
religious life, their cultural life from an exhibit, that ironically
enough, they're calling ?Heavenly Tibet.??

The CTC will be writing to Canadian dignitaries and politicians who plan
to visit Expo 2010, asking them to cross the Tibet pavilion off their
itineraries.

Travis also warns Canadian officials of the possibility that a visit to
the pavilion could be used for propaganda purposes by the regime?as
happened when a Tibet exhibit toured Canada last year. Politicians who
attended the exhibit found that ?their smiling photo would end up in
[state mouthpieces] Sing Tao or Ming Pao the following week, giving the
exhibit an aura of credibility that it otherwise would not have had,? he
said.

?We want Canadian leaders to understand that there is not just the
jingoistic bias of this pavilion, but there's also the danger that they
could find that they're lending it a credibility that it doesn't deserve
by visiting, and then being used in these types of propaganda efforts.?

Canada Pavilion
At 3.28 square miles and with about 240 participating countries, Expo
2010 is the largest world fair since the event was first held in London
in 1851. It is also the first in a developing country. With a theme of
?Better City, Better Life,? the expo promotes the huge metropolis of
Shanghai as the ?next great world city.?The Canada Pavilion, one of the
largest at the expo, is designed to provide ?a glimpse of life in a
Canadian urban center? according to its website. Built in a unique
geometric design, the three-story structure is the product of
collaboration between the Canadian government and Cirque du Soleil.??The
entire exterior of the pavilion is composed of Canadian red cedar boards
that are individually fastened to a steel frame, allowing easy
dismantling so the wood can be reused later. This adds to the
sustainability aspect of the building?one of the themes of Expo 2010.
??Built into the courtyard, where entertainment will take place, is a
49-by-131-foot ?green wall? of evergreen seedlings. Canada?s theme is
?The Living City: inclusive, sustainable, creative.???Travis is critical
of Expo 2010?s sustainability theme, saying China?s policies in Tibet
are far from being sustainable?in particular the damming and diverting
of some of the country?s major rivers. ???It is highly ironic that there
is not a single government of China policy in Tibet today that is
sustainable?whether it's tourism, the environment, economic development,
or the protection of human rights and religious freedom,? he said. ???To
even have such a pavilion at an exhibition that's based on
sustainability really is a slap in the face to what that word means.?
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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