[URBAN NOTE] “Tibetan community outraged by TTC ads”
The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr notes upset among Toronto’s Tibetan-Canadian community at the ads from the China National Tourist Office encouraging visitors to come to “Tibet, China”. I myself did see one of these ads, and was not impressed at the heavy-handedness.
Members of Toronto’s Tibetan community are demanding an apology from the TTC after the agency refused to remove subway ads that critics say are racist propaganda sanctioned by the Chinese government.
“These ads basically portray Tibetans as backwards, as undeveloped and dirty,” said Sonam Chokey, national director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “Basically they are trying to legitimize the colonization of Tibet.”
The TTC says the agency had no choice but to run the ads because they’re not in contravention of any law or of the transit agency’s advertising policies.
The posters, which have been on the transit system since Nov. 28, depict two images of Tibet. One is colourless, and shows a clutch of ragged tents and faceless figures in a barren valley, while the other is in colour and shows a modern city in the same mountain setting. The accompanying caption is “Old Culture, New Tibet.”
The posters direct readers to the internet address for the China National Tourist Office.