DHARAMSALA, 4 May: The barrage of abuse, threats and racist slurs Chemi Lhamo received after her election as the student union president likely originated from Chinese diplomats in Canada as suspected.
Death threats and abuse targeted at Chemi Lhamo, a Canadian citizen of Tibetan origin after she was elected the student president on the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus Likely originated from Chinese diplomats in Canada, the London-based advocacy group Free Tibet reported citing a consultant to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
“It appears likely that the coordinated campaign against Chemi probably originated in the planning of the United Front Work Department Canada desk, simply because the degree of response simultaneously suggests that it wasn’t a spontaneous action by a large group of unconnected individuals,” Charles Burton, a consultant with CSIS and a former diplomat to China has told Free Tibet.
Burton believes this was done with approval from the Chinese government, the report said and added that the consultant to the CSIS thinks that the United Front Work Department, an agency of the ruling Chinese Communist Party coordinated the online threat and abuse directed at Chemi Lhamo by ordering the Chinese students at the University of Toronto through Chinese social media platform WeChat.
“You’re going to get shot and the bullets are going to be made in China.” “Tibet is a part of China.” “There is only one China forever, you dark-skinned whore,” these are some of the online threats from out of approximately 15,000 different posts in various languages.
While detectives began investigating whether some of the thousands of online threats Chemi Lhamo received president constitute criminal threats after the authorities were pressed by student groups to investigate alleged interference by Chinese officials on Canadian campuses, the report said that he did not conform to whether the CSIS was working on the case or if he had knowledge of it.
However, he has said that the campaign was likely an attempt by Beijing to force Lhamo to step down from the student union presidency.
“It stands to reason that this activity with regard to a significant leader at the University of Toronto campus would be something that would be of concern to the Chinese government and they would prefer that she not have a leadership role for fear that… would add prestige to the legitimacy of the Tibetan independence cause which she supports,” he added.
Meanwhile, China’s Consulate General in Toronto claimed that it only learned of the online attacks against Lhamo from the media in a statement dated 15 Feb.
However, the statement, instead of condemning that act, went overdrive and expressed support for the Chinese students’ action. “It is believed that this is an entirely spontaneous action of those Chinese students based on objective facts and patriotic enthusiasm,” it said.
Chemi Lhamo, a fourth-year student of Neuroscience and Psychology student of the University and former SCSU’s Vice-President Equity who led the Shine Bright UTSC slate was elected the president of SCSU earlier this year in February.
What followed before and after her election made headlines in Canada and around some part of the world as what appears to be Chinese students question her qualification over her candidacy and demanded that she be stopped from becoming president condemned her election with onlinee and text messages with death threats and abuses.