News

Threats originated in China

DHARM MAKWANA, 24 HOURS
24 hours columnist Bill Tieleman received death threats for his column last week. (ROB KRUYT, 24 hours)

24 hours columnist Bill Tieleman received death threats for his column last week. (ROB KRUYT, 24 hours)

24 hours' opinion columnist Bill Tieleman received three death threats via e-mail, one of which read, "I must kill you and your family," over his April 8 column taking issue with China's human rights record.

"I just find it offensive that threatening a journalist is an appropriate way to deal with an opinion they disagree with," he said.

Vancouver police told Tieleman yesterday the messages were sent from the same e-mail account inside China.

In response, Tieleman, who has received hundreds of responses to his column, pointed out people's right to voice opinions in Canada is not as apparent in China.

"If you were sending very negative e-mails, and postings, and letters, in response to a columnist in a Chinese newspaper you would have authorities knocking at your door and possibly taking you away," he said.

Tung Chan, CEO of immigrant settlement agency SUCCESS, condemned the death threats received by Tieleman.

Still, Chan said pundits who enter the debate should be mindful of feelings of nationalism that newcomers from China have for their homeland.

"People have a different visceral reaction to those kinds of issues," Chan said of columns such as Tieleman's.

Tieleman argued any public debate, no matter its nature, should always remain civil.

"When it crosses the line into obscenity-filled e-mails and then death threats, there's no place for that in any democracy," he said. "It's regrettable."

THREATS...

- I can kill you. you are wait!!!!!!!! (sic).

- I am in CKNW, I am normal Chinese. I must kill you and your family.

- Kill you! you clean your neck (sic), enjoy your last day, just wait, you will pay for this!