Three German Tibet support groups have 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 yesterday, 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 jointly said.

Dalha Agyitsang of the Association of Tibetans in Germany called on German president Horst Köhler, who is also patron of the exhibition, to publicly express his concern about the repression of religious freedoms in Tibet.