By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 1: Canadian police has begun investigation into possible online abuse against Tibetan-Canadian student leader Chemi Lhamo who earlier this month won the election for President of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Student Union (SCSU). Lhamo came under intense protest from Chinese student body in the University who appealed the election result in a petition.
Toronto Police on Wednesday said that they are probing whether thousands of the online abuses against Lhamo constitute for criminal threats. Detective Anthony Rutherford, who is heading the Toronto police probe said, “There are approximately 15,000 different posts in various languages. We’re going to have to go through all that. It needs some follow-up and more time.”
The Change.org petition signed by 11,000 people demanding Lhamo be removed from the position raised concerns of Chinese government interference on Canadian campuses. Many including Chemi Lhamo expressed doubts that Chinese government is behind the campaign against her.
“I was a little surprised, but seconds after reading some of the comments I realized this was probably a tactic by the Chinese government. This looks very orchestrated. We’ve seen enough of this stuff to know it’s not coming out of nowhere,” she told National Post
Some of the comments on her Instagram that are aggressively threatening to her include, “Wish you would die young”; “The bullet for your penalty is made in China”; and “I kill all your family.” Lhamo responded by saying, “It is a little threatening, to be roaming around hallways knowing that at any time I could be attacked. We came to Canada hoping for a better quality of life. To be bullied even here catches up on your mental health sometimes.”
In the wake of the barrage of threats and negative comments, campus police have instructed Lhamo to be alert and report to them on her movements on an hourly basis.
The student leader of Tibetan descent won the election for the President of the Scarborough campus students’ union with 837 votes earlier this month, followed by Chinese students there protesting her win and accusing her of being against China.
Lhamo has maintained that while she is strong on her beliefs and advocacy for Tibet and its political movement, she will not use the position to speak on Tibet.