Join our Mailing List

"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Not All Media Welcome to Hear 'True' Story on Tibet

March 23, 2009

Canadian journalists booted from Chinese consulate press event in Toronto
By Matthew Little
Epoch Times Staff
March 21, 2009

TORONTO -- At a press conference hosted by the
Chinese consulate at a Toronto hotel on Friday,
organizers expelled several invited reporters
they deemed unfriendly. The event had aimed to
counter the regime's reputation of censorship and repression in Tibet.

Organizers barred reporter Danielle Zhu and
cameraman David Ren of New Tang Dynasty
Television (NTDTV), a Chinese-language television
station that frequently reports official Chinese
abuse, including repression in Tibet.

Ms. Zhu was at first allowed in to the press
conference after showing her invitation. Then
organizers noticed the NTDTV logo on Mr. Ren's camera.

"NTDTV, why was this invitation sent to you?" asked one organizer.

The Chinese consulate had sent the invitation to
the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of
Canada, to which both NTDTV and The Epoch Times
belong. Journalists at both outlets had replied
by email to confirm their attendance in advance
of the event. But that didn't satisfy organizers.

"You can’t get in," an organizer told Ms. Zhu
before ordering hotel security: "Take her away."

An organizer also told police who were present
that the two journalists were "against China."

Coincidentally, Zhu and Ren were also snubbed by
the Chinese authorities in 2005 when both were
slated to join Canadian Prime Minister Paul
Martin on his Asian trip, which included a visit to China.

In January 2005, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa
issued and then quickly revoked the two
journalists' visas. The embassy offered no
explanation for the reversal, despite an
objection from the prime minister at the time.

But the two were not alone on Friday.

This reporter witnessed Sonam Wangchuk, a
journalist with Radio Tibet Toronto, being
escorted out of the press conference. After your
reporter attempted to photograph the incident,
organizers elected to remove him instead.

The afternoon conference at the Sheraton Hotel
featured the Chinese National People’s Congress
Tibetan Delegation, a group of five Tibetan men
and women purporting to represent Tibetan life in the mountainous region.

Among the delegates was the Chinese regime’s
hand-picked "Living Buddha," a man named Xin Za
Dan Zeng Qu Zha, who the regime promotes as a
spiritual leader and representative of the Tibetan people.

The Epoch Times reporter came away with a free
DVD made available to media at the event titled,
"Tibet Past and Present.” The video portrays
communist rule in Tibet as "liberation" and
attempts to undermine the credibility of the Dalai Lama.

The video claims, among other things, that the
Nobel Laureate would accept human skulls, skin,
and intestines as birthday gifts before the regime took control of Tibet.

In a telephone interview following the event, Mr.
Wangchuk, who was raised in Tibet, said it was
"sad" to see journalists expelled. He recounted
what he witnessed at the press conference.

"They were trying to tell us that right now Tibet
is much better than before," he said.

Mr. Wangchuk said the regime's "Living Buddha"
was the lone spokesperson at the event and that
he argued life had improved greatly in Tibet
under communist rule. Mr. Wangchuk claimed "90
per cent" of what the "Living Buddha" had said about Tibet was not true.

The "Living Buddha" also reportedly responded to
a question from Thomas Saras, president of the
National Ethnic Press and Media Council of
Canada, by saying he was not under any pressure
to toe the communist party line on Tibet.

The event is part of the Chinese regime's effort
to rebrand its rule in Tibet. The regime will
mark the “50th Anniversary of Democratic Reform
in Tibet” this month. It also refers to the
anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising in
1959 as "Liberation from Serfdom Day."

State media have published thousands of articles
online in recent weeks to promote the official
line on the anniversaries. The current tour
overseas, which included a stop in Washington,
D.C. before Friday's event in Toronto, has been
used by state media in China to lend credibility to the rebranding campaign.

On Monday, the delegation will be in Canada's
parliament for an event with Canadian members of parliament and senators.

Additional reporting by Jason Loftus

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank