ʻOku ʻi lalo heni ʻa e ongoongó ni ʻi he lea faka-Tongá 

The Chinese Embassy in Tonga has described a letter purporting to be from Prime Minister ’Akilisi Pohiva  as “groundless and not true.”

And the Prime Minister’s office said the letter was clearly intended to denigrate the Prime Minister while he was facing a vote of no confidence motion that has been tabled in parliament.

The document was posted to Facebook and widely shared online and was published on the Nepituno website this afternoon.

Nepituno editor Dr Viliami Latu said he was handed the original letter from a “very reliable source” before he photocopied it and published.

He said the letter was “authentic” and he sought advice from a legal adviser before their publication.

He said he received a number of contacts after he published the letter and he was not the only one who received the letter including leading figures in the community.

The documented, dated January 9, purports to have been written by Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva to the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy, Wang Xuejun, said the embassy had never received such a letter.

“We suspect that the letter is fabricated because there is no such an institution like Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, and the Prime Minster of Tonga never visited Beijing.”

The letter

The document published by Nepituno reads:

“Thank you for the warm welcome in Beijing. l am writing this to you  to accentuate the important parts from the discussions that we had in China. There is a big problem in Tonga that is preventing us from transitioning into a democracy. Religion and its institutions are halting our country’s progress.

The church has too much  power and  the people  are too religious as a result. They listen to the church, the King and the monarchy,  who are  the “protectors” of  the  church. They hold  on  to outdated beliefs that only serve to hurt Tonga.

We have to create a plan to decrease the influence of religion. I cannot say this publicly, because the people and my constituents would tum against me. I am writing this to formulate a confidential 2-3 year plan with the goal of secularizing the country and eventually removing all power from the monarchy.

We must at the very least institute plans to erase all religious teachings in school, allow businesses to open on Sunday and crack down on religious leaders in the country. If we can accomplish this, then I have no doubt that we can transition into a fully democratic Tonga. We must also remove the nobility from power, as they only serve to increase the influence of the King.

Suffice to day, that this letter is to be treated with the utmost secrecy because we all know what is at  stake  here. I also would like to confirm from our previous talks your  help  with  scheduling treatment for my medical condition.”

The Prime Minister’s office said the Prime Minister had travelled to Singapore in January, but not continued to china as originally planned.

The Prime Minister did not write the letter and the document published by Nepituno was  fabricated, it said.

Fake news?

Has the curse of ‘fake news’ come to Tonga?

The document purporting to be from Hon. Pohiva is a strange piece of work.

It appears to be a clumsy and deliberate attempt to stir up resentment of the Chinese, insinuate that the Prime Minister is anti-religious and opposed to the monarchy.

It uses American spelling and phrases like “transition to democracy” that appear to have been borrowed from somebody else. In short, it simply doesn’t sound like the Prime Minister.

This totally contradicts the Prime Minister’s public statement on the role of the monarchy in Tonga’s new democratic society and his government’s demonstrable sensitivity to the opinion of the country’s religious leaders.

It is also written by somebody who thinks there is only one church in the kingdom – presumably their own.

The really questionable aspect is the throw-away reference to “my medical condition” at the end, as if the author wanted to throw in everything he could to stir up antipathy to Hon. Pohiva. Surely if  the Prime Minister was ill, he would specify whatever ailed him.

If this is fake news, then the next task for the media is to find out who wrote it and why.

The main points

  • The Chinese Embassy in Tonga has described a letter purporting to be from Prime Minister’ Akilisi Pohiva as “groundless and not true.”
  • The document was posted to Facebook and widely shared online and published in some sections of the Tongan media.
  • The documented, dated January 9, purports to have been written by Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva to the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China
  • A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy, Wang Xuejun, said the embassy had never received such a letter.

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  1. Ongoongó ʻi he lea faka-Tongá

    Kuo fakamatala’i ‘e he ‘emipasī ʻa Siaina ʻi Tongá ha tohi ne taumuʻa ke pehē ko e tohi ki Siaina mei he ʻEiki Palēmiá ʻAkilisi Pōhiva ʻoku taʻehano makatuʻunga mo ʻikai moʻoni.

    Pea ʻoku pehē ʻe he ʻōfisi ʻo e Palēmiá ko e tohí ni ʻoku mahino ne taumuʻa ke fakangalikoviʻi ʻa e ʻEiki Palēmiá lolotonga ʻa ʻene fehangahangai mo hano fili fakahāloto ke tuku hifo ia mei hono lakangá ʻa ia ʻoku lolotonga tālangaʻi ʻi Fale Alea.

    Ko e fakamatalá ni naʻe tufaki ʻi he Feisipuká pea lahi hono feʻaveaki holo he ʻinitanetí  peá ne pulusi foki ʻi he uepisaiti ʻa e Nepitunó he hoʻatā efiafi ʻaneafí.

    Pehē ʻe he ʻētita ʻo e Nepitunó Dr Viliami Lātū ki he Kanivá ne ne maʻu ʻa e ʻolisinolo ʻo e tohí mei ha maʻuʻanga fakamatala falalaʻanga ʻaupito ki muʻa peá ne fotokopi ʻo pulusí.

    Ne ne pehē ʻoku moʻoni pe tohí ia peá ne ne kumi faleʻi foki ki ha loea ki muʻa pea nau pākí.

    Ne ne pehē ne ne maʻu ha ngaahi fetuʻutaki hili ʻenau paaki ʻa e tohí pea ne ʻikai ko ia pe ne ne maʻu ʻa e tohí ka ne kau ai ʻa e kau tuʻukimuʻa he komiunitií.

    Ka kuo pehē ʻe ha matāpule mei he ʻemipasī Siaina ʻi Tongá, Wang Xuejun ne teʻeki ai maʻu ʻe he ʻemipasií ia ha tohi pehē mei he ʻEiki Palēmiá.

    “ʻOku mau mahaloʻi ko e tohí ni ko e faʻu taumuʻa ke faiʻaki hano lohiakiʻi ha niʻihi koeʻuhī ʻoku ʻikai ha potungāue pehē ia (ʻi Siaina) hangē ko e Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China pea ne teʻeki ʻaʻahi tuʻo taha ʻa e Palēmia ʻo Tongá ki Beijing hangē ko ia ʻoku ʻasi he tohí”, ko e lau ia ʻa June.

    Ko e tohi ko ʻení ne fakaʻaho ia ki he ʻaho 9 ʻo Sānualí pea ʻoku pehē ko e faʻu ʻe he palēmiá ʻAkilisi Pōhiva ki he Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China.

    Ko e Tohí ( ʻi hono liliu faka-Tongá)

    Fakapulipuli:

    Fakamālō atu ki hono talitali lelei au ‘i Beijing. ‘Oku ou fakahoko atu ‘a e tohi ni ke to e fakamamafa’i ‘a e konga mahu’inga ‘o ‘etau talanoa ‘i Siaina. ‘Oku ‘i ai ‘a e palopalema lahi ‘i Tonga ni ‘a ia ‘oku ne ta’ofi ‘emau nga’unu atu ko’eni ki he Temokalati. ‘Oku hanga ‘e he lotu mo hono ngaahi fa’unga (institutions) ‘o fakafe’atungia’i ‘a e fakalakalaka homau fonua.

    ‘Oku fu’u totu’a e mafai ‘o e Siasi pea ko hono ola ‘oku fu’u lotu ‘a e kakai ia ‘o e fonua. ‘Oku nau fanongo kinautolu ki he Siasi mo e Tu’i ‘a ia ko kinautolu ‘oku nau malu’i (protectors) ‘a e Siasi. ‘Oku nau kei pikitai he ngaahi tui kuo ‘olokuonga ‘a ia ‘oku fakamamahi ki Tonga.

    ‘Oku totonu ke tau fa’u ha palani ke fakasi’isi’i ‘a e mafai ‘o e lotu. ‘Oku ‘ikai foki keu lava ‘o lea ‘aki ‘eni ‘i he papulika he ‘e fehi’a mai hoku vahenga fili mo e kakai kiate au. Koia ai ‘oku ou tohi atu ke fa’u ha palani fakapulipuli ki he ta’u ‘e 2 pe 3 mo e taumu’a ke to’o e lotu mei he fonua pea to’o mo e mafai katoa mei he Tu’i.

    Kuo pau foki ketau fa’u ha ngaahi palani ke fakangata hono fakahoko ‘a hono ako’i ‘o e lotu he ngaahi ako’anga, fakangofua e ngaahi pisinisi ke ngaue he ‘aho Sapate pea ke ‘ohofi (crack down) ‘a e kau taki lotu he fonua. Kapau tetau lava ‘o fakahoko ‘eni, pea ‘oku ‘ikai ha’aku veiveiua ‘e malava ke ma’u ha Temokalati kakato ma’a Tonga. Kuo pau foki ke tau to’o mo e kau Nopele mei he mafai he ‘oku nau hoko ko hono fakamalohi’i ‘a e mafai ‘o e Tu’i.

    ‘Oku ou faka’amu ke tauhi ‘a e tohi ni ‘aki ‘a e fakapulipuli lahi taha he ‘oku tau ‘ilo ‘a e me’a ‘e hoko heni. ‘Oku ou fie fakapapau’i atu heni mei he’etau talanoa ki mu’a ho’o mou tokoni ki ha taimi ke fakahoko ai ‘a e faito’o ki he tu’unga ‘o ‘eku mo’ui.

    Kuo pehē ʻe he ʻŌfisi ʻo e Palēmiá naʻe folau ʻa e Palēmiá ki Singapoa ʻi Sanuali ka ne ʻikai toe hoko atu ia ki Siaina ʻo hangē ko ia ne ʻuluaki palaní.

    Naʻe ʻikai faitohi pehē ʻa e Palēmiá pea ko e fakamatala ne pulusi he Nepitunó ʻo pehē ko e faʻu ʻe ʻAkilisi Pōhivá ʻoku ʻikai moʻoni ia.

    Ongoongo taumuʻa ke takihala

    Kuo ʻi Tonga nai e nānunga ʻo e ʻongoongo faʻu ke takihalaʻi ha kakai pe ke tuʻuaki ha faʻahinga tui tatau ai pe pe ʻoku moʻoni pe halá?

    ʻOku kiʻi foʻou e fakamatala ko ʻeni ʻoku pehē ko ʻene haʻu mei a Pōhivá.

    ʻOku hangē ne fakatamulu hono faʻú mo hangē ha feinga ke langaʻi ha taaufehiʻa ki he kau Siaina, mo hono fakahuʻuhuʻunga ko e Palemiá ʻoku taʻelotu mo fakafepaki ki he pule fakatuʻí.

    ʻOku ngāueʻaki ʻe he tohí ʻa e sipēlingi mo e ngaahi kupuʻi lea faka-ʻAmelika ʻo hangē ko e “transition to democracy”  hangē ia ne toʻo mei ha meʻa ia ne tohi ʻe ha taha kehe. ʻI hono ʻai nounoú ʻoku hangē ʻoku ʻikai ko e palēmiá ia ne ne tohí.

    ʻOku mātuʻaki fepaki foki ʻeni ia mo e meʻa ʻa e Palēmiá ki he kakaí kau ki he fatongia ʻo e pule fakatuʻí ʻi he sōsaieti fakatemokālati foʻou ʻi Tongá pea mo e faʻa aafe hono puleʻangá ke fakaongo ki he fakakaukau ʻa e kau taki lotu ʻi he ngaahi meʻalahi.

    Ko e tohi ʻeni ne fai ia ʻe ha taha ʻokú ne fakakaukau ʻoku taha pe ʻa e siasi ʻi he puleʻanga fakatuʻí – ngalingalí ko e siasi pe ko ē ʻo kinautolú.

    Ko e konga ʻoku ala fehuʻia tahá ko e lave ki “hoku faitoʻó” ʻi he konga fakamuimuí, ʻo mahino mai ai ʻa e feinga ʻa e toko taha faʻu tohí  ke laku tavale atu pe meʻa kotoa te ne ala lavá ke   fakatupunga ha taaufehiʻa kia Pōhiva. Ko hono moʻoní ka ne puke ʻa e Palēmiá te ne tuhuʻi fakapatonu atu ia ʻa e alangamahaki fakaesino ʻoku tengetange aí.

    Kapau leva ko ha ongoongo faʻu ʻeni taumuʻa ke lohiakiʻi ha kakai, pea ko e fehuʻi hoko leva ke talí, ko hai ia naʻá ne faʻú.