Dhaka Art Summit – one of the biggest art shows in Bangladesh – covered up an exhibit by Tibetan artists on Monday after the Chinese embassy said it was “offended” by the exhibition. “Last Words” is a photographic piece featuring letters from five Tibetans who self-immolated in protest of China’s rule.

Bangladeshi activist Wasfia Nazreen wrote on Facebook that the Chinese Ambassador in ‪‎Bangladesh‬ had personally demanded the art pieces were removed, threatening “dire consequences”.

“This placed the organizers in a difficult position and, in consultation with the artists, they decided to cover the work for the rest of the summit… Not surprised at the arrogance and bullying tactics of the Chinese government in shutting down any voice that disagrees with its official version of what is happening in ‪Tibet,” she wrote.‬

Photo: Wasfia Nazreen, via Facebook.

Courtesy of Nazreen, below are the five censored exhibits.

“We, the six million Tibetans led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, want independence for Tibet. Freedom to learn our language, freedom to speak our language. Free the imprisoned Panchen Lama. His Holiness the Dalai Lama must return home. I am setting myself on fire to protest against the Chinese government. My father Tashi Namgyal and other family members, there is no need to worry and feel sad. Instead engage in spiritual activities and accumulate merits. My request is that every Tibetan must learn and speak Tibetan, dress Tibetan and must remain united and rise up.” Nyingkar Tashi, 24, self-immolated on 12 November 2012 Rebkong, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

“Prayers for world peace and happiness! To ensure His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet, do not indulge in slaughtering and trading of animals, do not steal, speak Tibetan, do not fight. Bearing all sufferings of sentient beings on myself. Do not resist by fighting if I fall into Chinese hands alive. Be united. Study Tibetan culture. I set myself on fire. My family, do not feel sad.” Rikyo, 33, self-immolated on 30 May 2012 Zamthang, Ngaba County, Sichuan Province.

“I, Tsultrim Gyatso, the warrior of the snows, set myself on fire for the welfare of all Tibetans. The golden teardrops. Alas, tears. Heartbreak. Brothers, do you hear? Do you see? Do you hear? To whom shall I tell about the suffering of six million Tibetans? Precious human body engulfed in flames. I set myself on fire for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, to free Panchen Rinpoche from prison, and for the welfare of six million Tibetans. May all sentient beings residing in the three realms be free from the three poisons and attain Buddhahood. May the lama and the Three Jewels hold dear those who are downtrodden and without refuge. Brothers and sisters of the Land of Snow, for the sake of Tibet’s unity, do not fall under the deceitful ways of the foxes.” Tsultrim Gyatso, 43, Self-immolated on 19 December 2013 Sangchu, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

Excerpt: “Our chief goal is for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be able to return to the Potala Palace. I sacrifice my life to prove to the world and especially the people of China and the Chinese authorities that we have absolutely no power or the channel to talk about the injustices being done to us. My Tibetans brothers and sisters of the same blood, please do not remain aloof as if you have seen or heard nothing. Be united and be strong to work hard for our just struggle so that we can win in the end. I, the monk Sonam Topgyal, wrote this on 1 July 2015 just when the sun rose.” Sonam Topgyal, 26, self-immolated on 9 July 2015 Nangchen, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

“Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama! Long live all the lamas and tulkus (reincarnations) of the Land of Snow. May Tibetans be free from China’s oppressive rule. There is immense suffering under China’s rule, and this suffering is unbearable. There is no way to further endure this Chinese occupation, its terrible rule, this torture without trace. In the end the merciless Chinese will kill the Tibetans. Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” Nangdrol, 18, self-immolated on 19 February 2012 Zamthang, Ngaba County, Sichuan Province.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.