By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, November 6: Tibetans and Tibet supporters in Toronto, Canada, were physically assaulted while peacefully protesting the ongoing 'Canada China Tibet Culture Week', a Chinese government funded propaganda campaign.
On November 3, Canada China Tibet Cultural Week began with a screening of film “Roof of the World”, a production of the state run CCTV. Senior Chinese officials from the State Council Information Office – one of Beijing’s most powerful propaganda bodies, the Chinese Consul General to Toronto, China’s Ambassador to Canada, Canadian Senator Vivienne Poy attended the opening of the event.
The protesters said the event is an attempt by China to create a misleading information about Tibet and China's policies in Tibet. The event, which will conclude on November 14, is expected to draw numerous visitors. The Chinese security officers at the TIFF theatre physically assaulted the protesters including two Canadian-Tibetan women and a Buddhist Lama, according to Urgyen Badheytsang, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada.
“It’s a disgrace that the TIFF, Toronto Star, and St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts have partnered with the Chinese government in presenting a distorted, false picture of life in Tibet under Chinese occupation – but they still have a chance to make things right by canceling the remainder of this travesty before any other Canadians are assaulted or our values are further undermined,” said Urgyen.
Sungjang Rinpoche, one of the protesters who was assaulted by the Chinese security officers, said, “As a Tibetan who escaped Chinese brutality in Tibet, I’m shocked and deeply upset that senior Canadian arts community leaders are endorsing such a blatant propaganda film on Tibet and screening it here in one of the most respected theatres in Canada. I felt compelled to stand up and tell Canadian viewers that I was born in Tibet, and that there is nothing glorious about the situation in Tibet as this film is trying to portray.”
The event will screen two more movies- Dekyi Metok and Thangka. It will also showcase Tibetan Opera dance, Tibetan dance, songs and fashion.
Today, Tibetans in Canada carried out protests against screening of “Glorious Tibet” at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and called it “The Inglorious Situation in Tibet- an ensemble of propaganda sights and sounds”.