The public ‘Museum of Asian Art’ in Berlin, exhibitor of ‘Tibet – monasteries open their treasuries’, has today refused to accept an information panel on the fate of the ‘disappeared’ 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, Gedun Choekyi Nyima. The panel was presented by the three Tibet support groups, International Campaign for Tibet Germany (ICT), the Tibet Initiative Germany and the Association of Tibetans in Germany in order to mark the 11th Panchen Lama’s 18th birthday. ‘We are saddened and concerned that a public museum in Germany refuses to accept simple information on historical facts’, said Kai Mueller, Executive Director of ICT-Germany today. ‘Our intention is to break the silence around this exhibition and the exhibitors must state their views on recent Tibetan history’, Mueller continued. ‘Instead they stay silent which is not acceptable’.

In February, the German Tibet support groups had strongly criticised the re-opened exhibition ‘Tibet – monasteries open their treasuries’ and called it an ‘unacceptable denial of historical truth’. The Association of Tibetans in Germany, the Tibet Initiative Germany and the International Campaign for Tibet Germany jointly expressed their disappointment, as the exhibition panels end with the year 1949, the year Mao Zedong’s Communists came to power and began their invasion of Tibet.

The exhibition, which had been shown in Essen last fall and re-opened in Berlin in February, displays a collection of Buddhist artefacts from Tibet and is organised by the ‘Administrative Bureau of Cultural Relics’ in Lhasa and the Ruhrstiftung at Essen. TSGs were particularly concerned by the fact that the exhibition is shown under the auspices of Chinese President Hu Jintao, who today is responsible for the harsh regime in Tibet and presided over Martial Law in Tibet during his time as Party Chairman there.

‘We are afraid that this exhibition tries to present the Chinese leadership as the protector of Tibetan Buddhism. In reality most political prisoners in Tibet are monks and nuns and pictures of Tibet’s most important religious figure, the Dalai Lama, are banned. The museum is actively contributing to the false impression that there is religious freedom in Tibet’, the organisations had criticised earlier.