The Australia Tibet Council (ATC) has condemned the New South Wales (NSW) Parliament for censoring an exhibition on Tibet that ATC had sponsored. The exhibition, in the foyer of the NSW Parliament House in Sydney, was timed to coincide with the visit of the Dalai Lama to Australia later this month.

In a statement today, ATC said six text panels, entitled “Invasion,” “Destruction,” “Escape,” “Human Rights Violations,” “Sinocisation” and “Tibet Today,” have been removed by the Clerk of the Parliament as a result of pressure from the Chinese Government. Reporting on the development, Radio Australia said the exhibition has been cut in half and “controversial panels have been pulled off the walls of the public area and moved to a less obvious room.”

ATC Executive Officer Paul Bourke reacted to the NSW Parliament’s move saying, “We would expect that the Chinese Government would want to hide the truth about their actions in Tibet, but we cannot accept that the NSW Parliament would cooperate with them. The full story must be told.”

“With the Dalai Lama due in Australia soon, China’s occupation of Tibet is now at the centre of a row in the New South Wales Parliament,” Radio Australia said.

The NSW Upper House President, however, told Radio Australia that the Parliament’s rules prohibit overtly political exhibitions and that they had to go. The NSW Parliament’s official website only had the caption “Exhibition from the Museum of Tibet- Tibetan culture and history until Fri 31/05/2002” with the link going to a photo. There was no other description of the exhibition.

ATC announced that it intended to display the censored panels outside the Parliament House so that people visiting the exhibition could read the true facts about Tibet.

The traveling exhibition is on loan from the Tibet Museum in Dharamsala, India and will be displayed in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The Tibet Museum was established with the aim of presenting Tibet’s history and visions for its future through text and photographs.