‘Tibetans Decry Omission of Films From Fest’
(The Tribune | August 21, 2004)

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and a number of other Tibetan support groups have regretted the withdrawal of two films on Tibet from the eight-day Asian Film festival in Mumbai, allegedly under Chinese pressure.

Thubten Samphel, secretary, Department of Information and International Relations, CTA, said it was surprising that such a thing has happened in India, which stands for open democracy. "Although we do not have evidence of pressure from China but if the allegations made by organisations like Friends of Tibet are true then this is unfortunate," he said.

Tenzin Tsundue of Friends of Tibet alleged that the Chinese Embassy has coerced the Indian Government to lift censor exemptions on all films in the festival and this had put the entire festival in jeopardy. "Consequently, the committee has gone back on its decision to screen the two films, which speak about the brutal and inhuman occupation of Tibet since 1949, and the destruction of its culture, religion and environment at the hands of the occupying Chinese forces, due to direct pressure from the Chinese embassy," he said.

'Kundun', based on the life of the Dalai Lama and 'Seven Years in Tibet', the story of Heinrich Harrer's sojourn to Lhasa, at the time of the Chinese invasion, were part of a package of five films on Tibet, as part of a Focus on Tibet module for the film festival to be held from August 21 to 28," he said.