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Call For Boycott Of Chinese Dance Troupe

PRESS RELEASE

Re - The Dance Troupe of Tibet
12 June 1999

The Tibetan community and Tibet support groups in New Zealand are calling on the New Zealand general public to boycott the so-called "Dance Troupe of Tibet", which is scheduled to give a single show in Auckland on 13th June and in Wellington on 17th June.

Mr Thuten Kesang, the Honorary Secretary of the Office of Tibet, and the National Chairman of Friends of Tibet in New Zealand, said this show will be typical of Chinese propaganda. "Very little is known about the shows organisers in New Zealand. We are certain that it is backed by the Chinese Government, who is trying to show the world that Tibetan Culture is surviving. However, this is far from the truth. China is systematically destroying Tibetan culture throughout Tibet, from the monasteries to all levels of Tibetan life."

Mr. Kesang says an example is a young Tibetan, Ngawang Choephel, a Fullbright scholar. He was so concerned about the destruction of Tibetan culture that he went into Tibet and videotaped some performances by the old timers in Tibet in 1997 before we lost them all. He was arrested and jailed last year for 18 years, the Chinese accusing him of spying.

"It is ironic that China boasts of Tibetan culture, yet continues to destroy it inside Tibet. In fact, the repression in Tibet over the last 3 years has been reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution days.

"The Dance Troupe of Tibet advertising shows Tibetan monks using religious instruments. This use of religion in advertising this event is an insult to the Tibetans when 90% Buddhist monasteries in Tibet have been destroyed during the Chinese occupation of Tibet".

Mr Kesang added that he hoped that New Zealanders would see through Chinese propaganda, and not attend the performance, which comes just after the 40th anniversary of Tibet Uprising Day on 10th March in 1959, when the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India and thousands of Tibetans were killed by occupying Chinese troops.

The Tibetan Community in Australia and the Australian Tibet Council have also called for the boycott of the Australian part of the tour stating "classic piece of Chinese propaganda", according Paul Burke, the council's executive director.

For further information, contact Thuten Kesang, telephone 09 483 7275, 09 483 6066.


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