Fraudulent emails meant to discredit Falun Gong adherents in Alberta are being sent to various government officials in the third targeted email hoax in as many years.
The emails, one obtained by the Epoch Times through an Access to Information request, claim to be from Falun Gong practitioners but contain bizarre and often disturbing diatribes that appear to be an effort to discredit the group in the eyes of supporters and influential community leaders.
In one email sent to Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring, the sender, posing as a Falun Gong practitioner named “Serena,” thanked Goldring for supporting Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) and Shen Yun Performing Arts.
She then told the MP she had actively spread posters featuring his image “around the world” with the words “Peter supports Falun Dafa!” written on them, adding she assumed he would be overjoyed with her efforts despite not asking his permission.
When Goldring replied expressing his surprise and concern that his image was being used without permission, Serena told him he would be “punished” if he opposed her actions.
Another email was sent to Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium manager Katherine Huising after she was involved in a professional dispute with Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance and music company hosted at the theatre by the Falun Dafa Association of Calgary.
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The emails, written in broken English, have a threatening tone and accuse both Huising and Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk of being “evil” if they do not show support for Shen Yun. The email goes on to say that those who oppose the show will be “punished.”
The aim of the emails seems to be to make Falun Gong practitioners appear irrational, zealous, and unbalanced, and to create animosity between them and the email recipients in order to discredit the group and their activities.
This is not the first time such emails have been sent. The first wave of fraudulent emails was sent in 2010 to Edmonton theatre managers in an apparent attempt to stop Shen Yun from performing in the city.
In 2011, emails were sent to at least three Edmonton city councillors. Shar Chen, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Edmonton, said she suspects at least 12 councillors as well as the mayor received similar emails.
Chen said she knows the e-mails could not have been from Falun Gong practitioners because the names are not known to anyone in the community and the messages are completely out of character for the group.
She believes the emails were sent by agents of the Chinese Communist Party, in a “systematic” campaign to discredit the group and stop community leaders from understanding Falun Gong and the ongoing persecution waged against adherents of the spiritual practice in China.
“It’s part of the email harassment sent to other parts of the world as well,” Chen said.
“These people are actually CCP spies who are trying to turn people against the Falun Gong and also to interfere with the [Shen Yun] show.”