University of Toronto under fire for giving ‘hell money’ to Asian students

Staff distributed the bank notes in traditional Lunar New Year envelopes last week. When sent to the living, such notes can considered highly offensive.
By: | February 14, 2022

Asian students at the University of Toronto are calling for their administrators to take action after staff distributed “hell money” in traditional Lunar New Year envelopes last week.

The bank notes, also known as joss paper or incense paper, were given to students at a graduate student residence in place of cash normally given as gifts during the season. The notes are meant to be used in specific ceremonies around someone’s death, but when sent to the living, they can imply ill will and are highly offensive.

“[It] sends them the message of ‘you are dead to me’ or even worse, ‘I wish you were dead,’” reads an open letter signed by several student groups. “It is not only insulting, but heavily unacceptable.”

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