By Xiao Xu | The Globe and Mail
VANCOUVER, Canada, 24 April 2019
A letter purporting to be from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming members to a newly formed group promoting ties between Tibet and China is a hoax, the primer minister’s office said Tuesday.
The letter, circulated on social media, was dated 17 April, days before the Saturday inauguration gala for the Tibetan Association of Canada. Online video of the gala shows that provincial Ontario Progressive Conservative Vincent Ke and Toronto city councillor Jim Karygiannis attended the event.
“I’m pleased to extend my warmest greetings to everyone attending the 2019 Tibetan Association of Canada gala,” read the letter which claimed to come from Mr. Trudeau. The letter is on what looks like PMO letterhead.
It’s circulation on social media angered Tibetan groups in Canada. However, Amreet Kaur, a spokesman for the PMO, said no such letter was sent.
“A letter of greeting was not sent by the Prime Minister to the Tibetan Association of Canada. Our office is looking into this matter further,” Mr Kaur said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.
Chinese-language media reported on the weekend meeting of the group at a restaurant in Scarborough.
Mr Ke could not be reached for comment. Mr Karygiannis posted photos of himself at the gala to his Twitter feed but did not comment on the association.
Members of the Tibetan community in Canada were horrified at thoughts the prime minister would offer his support to the group. Five Tibetan groups wrote a letter to the PMO to express their concern.
“We are appalled that a fake letter of support from the Prime Minister of Canada is being used to mislead Canadians,” said the letter.
“The strategy of this group, strongly supported by the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government, seems to be to divide the Tibetan community in Canada.”
Sonam Lankar, president of the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario, said he was relieved to learn the letter was a hoax.
“People in Tibet are still struggling and they have a lot of issues,” he said in an interview.
Last month marked 60 years since Tibet’s Dalai Lama fled into exile amid an abortive uprising against Chinese control. China clamped down hard and the Himalayan region has not gained the autonomy it seeks.
China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and hasn’t held any dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010. Beijing accuses him of seeking to separate Tibet from China.
Dorjee Tenzin, president of the Tibetan Association of Canada, said in a speech to the gala posted online on YouTube that China has helped develop Tibet dramatically and that the goal of this group to make more overseas Tibetans aware of the contribution from the Chinese government.
“As overseas Tibetans, we deeply feel the tremendous changes happening in Tibet,” he said.
“The improvement of Tibetan’s life, the economy, the establishment of highways and the freedom of religions and beliefs have changed a lot … As overseas Tibetans, we are sincerely happy for the changes in our homeland.”
He went on to say that Tibet and China can never be separated: “We are like brothers and sisters.”
The association is a member of the Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations (CTCCO), an umbrella platform that serves more than 90 organizations in Canada.
Wei Chengyi, honorary chairman of CTCCO, who attended the inauguration meeting, said he knew nothing about the hoax letter.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t responsible for [this event],” he said in an interview.
In a video comment, Weng Guoning, president of CTCCO, said most members of Tibetan Association of Canada are or will be against Tibet separation.
But Sonam Chokey, national director for Students for a Free Tibet Canada, said the new group doesn’t represent the view of most Tibetan Canadians.
“For most of the Tibetans who live here in Canada, we would say this is not a legitimate representation of Tibetans here,” she said in an interview.
“For us to see this, this is definitely very worrying and very troublesome that they are trying to push Chinese propaganda again here in Canada.”
It goes to show how desperate the CCP is to sow discord and dissension among our exile community. Tibetans have a history of being lured by money. When the communists first invaded Tibet, they were on a charm offensive to win the hearts of the Tibetans. They used the silver dollar to lure the unsuspecting Tibetans. The Tibetans were so pleased, they sang “the Chinese communists are like parents, they are raining down silver dollars upon us”. Soon, they showed their true colour and rest is history. There are Tibetans who have been once again lured by the same evil and are now singing the praise of the CCP. Do these people have any conscience? Are these wretched skunks not ashamed of themselves? Have they forgot what happened to their parents, loved ones and their country? It is unimaginable that there are such low lives even in supposedly affluent western countries. I fear that the next target of the “United Front” will be the Tibetan politicians. They will buy them through helping their families and themselves by offering money far beyond their income and the temptation will finally will make them succumb. We see one such politician already in the parliament. Until now, the Kudaks were blamed right, left and centre for allegedly selling Tibet to the Chinese communists. Now, we have a new breed of traitors who are living in rich western countries with lavish life style and yet selling their soul to the enemy who has illegally occupied our nation, deposed HH The Dalai Lama and over threw His legitimate Government of the Tibetan people. The Tibetan people inside Tibet are hoping against hope that the Tibetan exiles will do their best to alleviate their suffering but to their dismay, some of the exiles are making a mockery of their hopes and betraying them instead.
I think there are black sheep everywhere in our society, trying to fish in the troubled water. They are looking for some reasons to create more discord and unnecessary squabbles over petty issues like the dialects, the style of clothing and such list goes on and on till you are dead tired to read them. There are certain vested interest in the exiled communities who are doing mischiefs under different pretexts. It is high time we reveal their real identity and share it amongst the members, so that these people can be isolated.
Tibetan refugees living in other countries need
to follow the advice of His Holiness and set good examples to others. The issues such as the worshipping of Dolgyal and provincial differences are gradually loosing their imnportance and new generation have no interest in such matter.
Cananda Tibetan community already has two separate groups which don’t mix with one another – Tibetans from Tibet on the one hand, and Tibetans from India/Nepal on the other.
Since most organizations are headed by Tibetans from India/Nepal, Tibetans from Tibet feel they are excluded from the group.
In Australia, Switzerland and Belgium, Tibetans from Tibet (or Sarjorwa as some call them) curve out a separate group existence from Shichag Tibetans. A solution is needed to bring all Tibetans under CTA.
So, in few years down the line, a community of Tibetans from Tibet will be formed naturally, and may form a separate identity as an ethinic group.
This is a real threat I have been discussing with social trend observer for years, and it is now happening.
CTA should address the divide between Tibetans from Tibet and Tibetans from India/Nepal. These two groups ridicule each other’s dialect, style of clothing, manner of walking, what they eat and how they set up their home, what songs they listen to. This issue is worse than Dorjee Shugden issue, or Cholkha Choelug issue.