Canadian police are investigating whether a torrent of online abuse and harassment of a Tibetan woman studying at the University of Toronto last month constitutes a crime.
“The Toronto police are currently investigating the threatening online messages sent to Chemi Lhamo,” police spokeswoman Jenifferjit Sidhu told reporters.
“The investigation began on Feb. 26, and is still ongoing,” she said. “We won’t be able to take the next step yet, as we are still gathering more evidence.”
Chemi Lhamo, who was born in India and is a vocal supporter of Students For a Free Tibet, started getting hate mail after being elected President of Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) on Feb. 9.
One comment read: “China is your daddy—you better know this,” while another threatened her, saying “we will make sure things get done so u won’t survive a day. Peace RIP.”
Meanwhile, a petition calling on Lhamo to step down garnered nearly 10,000 signatures, and screenshots calling Lhamo a “Tibetan separatist” were shared via social media.
Lhamo issued a statement saying she wouldn’t be influenced by the hate mail, and blaming the abuse on on Chinese government infiltration of Canadian universities.
Now, Toronto police are scrolling through around 15,000 comments in different languages on various social media sites, to determine whether any of the messages broke Canadian law.
Lhamo is also reporting to campus police on an hourly basis to ensure her safety, the National Post newspaper reported.