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August 30, 2016

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Talk show host’s fury at Canada ‘censors’

A CHINESE talk show host has accused the Canadian Tourism Commission of attempting to censor his show.

Gao Xiaosong said on his Weibo account that the release of an episode of his show on iQIYI, an online video platform, had been “delayed indefinitely” because of “strong obstructions” from the CTC.

The episode was supposed to be available on Friday. After a preview, which included content about aboriginal people in Canada, the CTC had objected to its release, Gao told his nearly 40 million followers.

He posted pictures, including e-mails in Chinese, from people who appeared to be CTC staff.

“We have always emphasized not to mention the aboriginal peoples because it’s a very sensitive subject, and the preview includes history that is not to be proud of,” said one e-mail.

According to Gao, another e-mail from CTC staff stated: “No matter from the history or human rights aspect, we have in the meeting again emphasized to avoid the aboriginal peoples ... This is really serious. If not worked out properly, it could be upgraded to political levels and cause very serious consequences.”

Gao questioned the CTC’s standing regarding the show’s content, saying he did not sign any contract with the CTC and that the organization was not a sponsor.

The first episode of the four-part series has already been aired. It “achieved great results and strengthened our confidence,” the CTC said in a Weibo post yesterday.

“As a promotion agency for a tourism destination, we hope the show focuses on promoting the destination,” the CTC said. “We have only provided opinions on amending the priorities of the episode.

“A Chinese tourism company recommended the show to CTC and signed cooperation papers with us,” it said. It did not name the company or give details of the contract.

Derek Galpin, CTC China’s managing director, said he had nothing to add to the official statement.

In response, Gao wrote: “The changes and omissions CTC demanded account for up to 20 minutes. Even if we had a contract, which we don’t, the harm to the episode would be unacceptable.”


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