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Dear Mr. Walcott,

I am deeply offended, saddened, and appalled by the politically motivated and oppressive exhibition on display at the Queens Public Library branch in Elmhurst. The exhibition shows several pictures of Tibetans and Tibet and aims to educate viewers using distorted facts about the political status of Tibet. Queens is home to the largest Tibetan diaspora community outside of Asia. Many of these Tibetans have witnessed displacement, statelessness, and other brutalities propagated by the Chinese government. Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans have been killed as a direct result of the Chinese occupation, and over 6,000 monasteries have been demolished through Chinese state-sponsored violence inside Tibet. Even for many local Tibetan-American and refugee members of our own community here in Queens, this exhibition is a brutal reminder of the suffering they and their families have directly faced for generations, and the ongoing human rights atrocities and environmental crises in Tibet. 

The Queens Public Library is a non-profit and should be a space of inclusive learning for students and community members. Libraries should promote truth and knowledge, not Chinese Government propaganda. Despite what the exhibition claims, there is often no “synchronous teaching” of Chinese and Tibetan languages in primary schools. In fact, Tibetans who seek to teach the Tibetan language to the younger generation are ruthlessly punished and imprisoned. Look no further than the case of Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan who has been imprisoned for years for legally advocating for Tibetan language education. 

I implore you and the Queens library to stand with the truth and immediately shut down this exhibition. 

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