Many doubt discussion of rights drew censorship
After allegedly facing pressure from Canadian tourism authorities, a weekly talk show on Chinese online streaming platform iQiyi.com went off the air this week over its discussion of the human rights of Canada's First Nations.
"In this episode [of Xiaosong qitan], an interviewed tribal chief talked of First Nations' past experience while applauding the present policy on First Nations (Aboriginal Canadians) … However, the show was strongly obstructed by the relevant Canadian organizations, and the broadcast has been postponed indefinitely," show host Gao Xiaosong, who is also the president of Ali Music Group and a famous songwriter, wrote on his Sina Weibo account on Sunday.
Destination Canada - formerly known as the Canadian Tourism Commission - was arrogant and aggressive in its response, threatening to resort to legal, political and diplomatic action, Gao said.
The organization "demanded the removal of all the contents about the human rights of First Nations," first through a program sponsor and later on its own, Gao claimed on Weibo, where he posted screenshots of e-mails allegedly from Destination Canada's office in China.
One picture showed that the Canadian side compares the sensitive topics addressed in Gao's show to "Tibet independence" in China.
Derek Galpin, managing director of Destination Canada in China, told news site ifeng.com on Sunday that the organization did not censor Gao's program, though he did not comment on the e-mails.
Many have raised doubts about the accusations in Gao's posts. Beijing-based Canadian TV personality Dashan (aka Mark Rowswell) questioned the authenticity of the e-mails and their source on Sina Weibo, saying the e-mails did not appear to be from Destination Canada because the e-mail domain was .cn rather than .com, the domain of the organization's official website.
"We do receive suggestions on modification of the content from the Canadian side, while Gao adheres to the original version," Liu Dan, a public relations representative with iQiyi.com, told the Global Times on Sunday.
She said the website is trying to coordinate relevant parties and will try to air an objective episode as soon as possible.
Unlike China's National Tourism Administration, Destination Canada is not a government department, though it is supervised by the Canadian government, an anonymous Chinese citizen who has worked with Canadian organizations for years told the Global Times on Sunday.
"It would make no sense for the Canadian government to censor a Chinese online show, and the topics are not even considered taboo in Canada," she said.