On the 16th of September, Ai Weiwei was in London and during a Q&A session was asked ‘how the Chinese felt about the oppression of the Tibetan people.’
His carefully worded answer:
“Tibet, and also some related situation like minority situations, [is the] result of this whole system. If the system is not changed, if the political situation is not changed, I don’t think Tibet has a chance for the condition to change.”
“It’s a very sad situation but I think it is lacking of communication, lacking of sincerely understanding of humanity or respect of different culture and language. This not only happens to Tibetan people but also happens to Chinese. It’s just the general condition.”
Earlier in 2002, there were similar “Confronting the Propaganda in Front of the Propaganda,” demonstrations inside the theme park (not difficult if they set the annual pass to cost the same as one admission…)
One such action was to read a statement from the International Tibet Independence Network about the abduction of the reincarnate Panchen Lama by Chinese authorities. Arrested as a child and held incommunicado for years, it is a glaring example of the lengths to which Chinese Communist authorities will go to maintain absolute control.
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In May 1999, Citizens Against Communist Chinese Propaganda held a conference in Orlando, Florida called, “Exposing Communist Chinese Government Influence in America.”
We had a great turn-out and listened to some speeches by informed individuals. The first panel, Exposing Communist Chinese Influence in America Panel Discussion included journalist Ken Timmerman.
The second panel, Exposing Chinese Government Propaganda Panel Discussion, featured talks by Erkin Alptekin, Bhuchung Tsering, Bache, and Sebo Koh, representing Eastern Turkestan, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and Taiwan respectively.
The third panel, Panel Discussion on Florida Splendid China propaganda theme park exhibits, was conducted by Bhuchung Tsering on the Potala Palace exhibit at Florida Splendid China. Oyunbilig spoke about the so-called Mausoleum of Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Yurt exhibits. Gulamettin Pahta spoke about the Tomb of Apak Hoja exhibit.
Their talks are linked above.
Left to right, Jack Churchward, Bache, Erkin Alptekin, Bhuchung Tsering, Sebo Koh
One of our guests, U.S. Representative Bill McCollum wrote a letter expressing his regrets that he could not be with us and stated:
The agenda for your discussion on China is timely and should prove lively.
The next day we had a Movement and Skills building session, followed by an impromptu demonstration at Florida Splendid China.
Demonstration following the Exposing Communist Chinese Government Influence in America Conference
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Jigme Norbu answers questions from the assembled media
Gathering in the parking lot down Florida Splendid China Bvd. prior to the demonstration
Another view of the gathering in the parking lot
Gathering at the main gate of Florida Splendid China on Splendid China Blvd.
Gathering on U.S. Hwy 92 (aka Irlo Bronson Hwy) under Florida Splendid China sign.
ps if you look closely, that is not an official flag of the People’s Republic of China as it was modified to reflect the attitudes of the demonstrators. In a previous demonstration, the stars representing the ‘minority’ people under Chinese Communist rule were cut out, so that it only had the one yellow star representing the majority Han people.
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As had happened sometimes before, Splendid China security called the Osceola Sheriff’s department on us. After a few visits, they did recognize our right to be on public sidewalks and to hold signs, banners and shout slogans; although they did swing back through the area from time to time to see if we were still there.
At the Main gate during the discussions with the Osceola Sheriff’s Office
The watchful Sheriffs (and two FSC security vehicles) across the street from the Main Gate of Florida Splendid China during 10/13/96 demonstration.
Protesters at the Main Gate of Florida Splendid China during 10/13/96 demonstration.
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The afternoon/evening before the demonstration to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the takeover of Eastern Turkestan (October 13, 1996), we made a visit to the now free portion of Florida Splendid China.
In addition to be followed by men in suits with conspicuous bulges where firearms are normally holstered, we also saw the bus from the Chinese embassy in Washington DC parked in the driveway indicating that the theme park was simply another Chinese government facility (as mentioned by the bus driver.)
Pointing Man pointing at Department of State Diplomatic License Plate on bus at Splendid China at 1730 hours October 12, 1996.
We still do not understand why a Florida theme park required the presence of armed security.
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One of the memorable events was the Commemoration of 54th Anniversary of Take-over of Inner Mongolia on April 28, 2001.
In June 1997, five (5) Uighur men from Kashgar, Eastern Turkestan (aka as Xinjiang,) hung a Republic of Eastern Turkestan flag over the Mao statue in Kashgar and eventually were executed by Chinese Communist authorities. Our actions were to commemorate those brave men who just wanted to live free in the country of their birth and the land of their ancestors.
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Here is one of the letters we sent to Florida Splendid China management.
February 3, 1997
Mr. Sunny Yang
Chairman, Splendid China
3000 Splendid China Blvd.
Kissimmee, Florida 34747
Dear Mister Yang,
To commemorate the 38th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day, we will be holding a protest demonstration at the main gate of Florida Splendid China, starting at 9 AM on the 9th of March. As in the past at all protests we have announced, this will be a peaceful, non-violent, legal demonstration of our solidarity with our Tibetan, Southern Mongolian and Eastern Turkestani friends.
We wish to call attention to the plight of the Tibetan, Southern Mongolian, and Uighur peoples that have been under the occupation of the People’s Liberation Army forces and the Chinese Communist Party and how some of the exhibits in the theme park portray these peoples as ‘Chinese’.
The Potala Palace was built by Tibetans, as was the Tomb of Apak Hoja and the Id Kah Mosque built by the Uighur people. The inclusion of the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, in an attempt to teach people that he was Chinese, should cause you much shame and the Mongolian Grassslands exhibit is a unique facet of Southern Mongolian culture, not Chinese. The identification of these structures as ‘Chinese’ is insulting and an attempt to whitewash the brutal suppression of these people’s cultures and the fact that they were subjugated under the force of arms and remain under the iron-fisted control of the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party.
We remain ready to speak with you at your earliest convenience concerning this matter. As all our letters have gone unanswered thus far, I can only hope that you are reading them and will someday take the opportunity to contact us. Be aware that as our campaign gains momentum, as demonstrated by the six demonstrations in front of your facility last year (from two the year before), and other activities which we are pursuing, the point of no-return can be easily reached without notice. I urge you to contact either myself or any person that might mediate our dispute.
Thank you for your time and attention,
Citizens Against Communist Chinese Propaganda
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