Chinese TV host accuses Canada tourism body of censorship

Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:32pm EDT
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By Ethan Lou

TORONTO Aug 29 (Reuters) - A Chinese talk show host has accused a Canadian government-backed tourism organization of trying to censor discussion of the country's aboriginal issues on his program and caused an episode to be dropped.

Gao Xiaosong, also the head of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's music division, made the accusation on his Weibo Chinese microblog on Saturday, two days before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embarked on his first official visit to China.

Gao wrote that he had interviewed a Canadian aboriginal chief for an episode of his show, "Xiaosong Pedia," due to be shown last Friday on the online video site iQIYI.

The unnamed chief praised Trudeau's and New Zealand's approaches to aboriginals, but criticized Canada's treatment of his people in the past, Gao wrote.

Gao wrote that tourism agency Destination Canada then applied pressure on iQIYI through a sponsor, asking for nearly half of what was at least a 40-minute episode to be cut.

Asked about the incident, Destination Canada said it has the right to "suggest changes" and make "recommendations to ensure a focus on Canadian tourism."

Destination Canada's relationship with Gao was not immediately clear. It said only that it engaged the travel site Ctrip.Com International Ltd to produce "four tourism videos" and the process involved an unidentified "production company."

Gao, iQIYI and Ctrip did not immediately respond to requests for comment.   Continued...