Tuesday, November 3, 2009
China bullies Bangladesh
China bullies small and big ones without discrimination.
Most of the time, it unfortunately works. After getting Obama to kowtow, they managed to bully the Germans during the Frankfurt Book Fair. With Bangladesh, it was easier. India still resists on the Dalai Lama's visit to Tawang.
Chinese pressure force Bangladesh to bar Tibet exhibition
Phayul November 02, 2009
An exhibition "Into Exile - Tibet 1949 - 2009" featuring the journey of "Tibetans from their Homeland to Exile" has been banned by police on Sunday, organizers said.
Bangladeshi police in the country's capital Dhaka on Sunday barred a prominent picture gallery from holding a photo exhibition on Tibet following complaints from Chinese diplomats, the government and organisers have said.
Police in riot gear arrived at the Drik Gallery at the capital's posh Dhanmondi area and sealed the place ahead of the ahead of the opening of the exhibition on Sunday evening. However, defying orders from police and requests from Chinese embassy, the organisers staged the exhibition depicting the plight of Tibetans on the street outside the venue.
The exhibition "Into Exile | Tibet 1949 - 2009" featuring the journey of "Tibetans from their Homeland to Exile" was organized by the Students for a Free Tibet, Bangladesh (SFTBD)' in partnership with Drik Gallery, and includes some very rare photos of the Dalai Lama's journey into exile in 1959.
An hour before the launch, scheduled for 5 pm on Sunday, police shut the gates of the Drik Gallery preventing public from entering the gallery, according to a spokesperson from SFTBD.
Drik managing director Dr Shahidul Alam reportedly said Bangladesh Police Special Branch spoke with him and asked him to stop the exhibition citing a "government order". Police also demanded to know the names of the organizers and are said to be looking out for them.
Alam said, although the police officers could not produce any document of the order, they threatened to shut down the show by force if the organisers did not do so willingly.
The SFTBD spokesperson earlier told Phayul that two Chinese diplomats approached the venue on Friday to request the organizers to stop the exhibition.
"After that I also received a series of phone calls from the ministry of cultural affairs and from a number of MPs," bdnews24.com quoted Alam as saying.
"On Saturday, officers from the Special Branch of police came and exerted pressure to stop the exhibition according to a 'government order'. I wanted a written copy of the government order but they refused to show me."
Alam also said he received a call from MP Hasanul Huq Inu on Saturday at 3:55 PM to remind him that Bangladesh had a One China policy.
Officers from Dhanmondi police station have reportedly said the show was closed on directives of the higher authorities as prior permission was not sought for the exhibition.
Officials of Drik — a world- renowned photo library, media and communication organisation — said they have arranged countless minor and major exhibitions over the past 20 years and never needed any permission.
Organisers say the government is acting purely under Chinese pressure.
On Sunday, at 5.44 pm, Professor Muzaffar Ahmed, former chairman of Transparency International Bangladesh and chief guest at the launch, informally inaugurated the exhibition on the street outside Drik Gallery as police continued to block the gates to the premises.
Activists were seen demonstrating in support of the show. Protesters held placards reading “Free Tibet” and “Freedom of Expression” slogans to protest the ban.
In a short speech, Muzaffar focused on the importance of freedom of expression.
"The ideal of one world that the United Nations talk about will only be established when the right to freedom of everybody's expression is protected," bdnews24.com quoted Muzzaffar as saying.