ChinaOctober 9 2022, 11:45 am

Vancouver Suburb Celebration of Chinese Hong Kong Takeover Again Raises Foreign Interference Issue

Local Cana­di­an media report­ed last June that a cel­e­bra­tion was held to mark the 25th anniver­sary of the takeover of Hong Hong by the Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the Rich­mond News report, the event VIP table includ­ed the Chi­nese Con­sul Gen­er­al and two local offi­cials, as well as the CEO of an impor­tant think tank:

June 27, 2022 A small group of pro­test­ers gath­ered in down­town Van­cou­ver June 23 to denounce a cel­e­bra­tion of the 25th anniver­sary of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Admin­is­tra­tive Region. Inside the Fair­mont Hotel, the Hong Kong Eco­nom­ic Trade Office, which rep­re­sents the region in Cana­da, host­ed the event with a VIP table. The table con­sist­ed of China’s con­sul gen­er­al Tong Xiaol­ing, for­mer Con­ser­v­a­tive MP Alice Wong, Rich­mond May­or Mal­colm Brodie and Jeff Nankiv­ell, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Asia Pacif­ic Foun­da­tion, a gov­ern­ment-sanc­tioned inde­pen­dent think-tank that wields influ­ence on law­mak­ers. Out­side, a small group of pro­test­ers held signs denounc­ing the Chinthe even­tese Com­mu­nist Par­ty for its ero­sion of the city’s demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions and auton­o­my that should oth­er­wise be upheld under a “one coun­try, two sys­tems” arrange­ment until 2047. Fenel­la Sung of Van­cou­verites Con­cerned about Hong Kong said Brodie, in par­tic­u­lar, was off­side for cel­e­brat­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of an author­i­tar­i­an regime that is fac­ing mul­ti­ple inter­na­tion­al out­cries for human rights abus­es. “Giv­en the huge influ­ence of Hong Kong immi­grants, or those who came by way of the Hong Kong path­way, seek­ing refuge here in Cana­da to start a new life in the past two or three years, I think we can­not allow our­selves to just be so naive, or just be so wil­ful­ly blind to just look at the invi­ta­tion as no harm and it’s just stan­dard prac­tice,” said Sung.

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Accord­ing to the report, the issue of for­eign influ­ence and inter­fer­ence has been raised in Rich­mond, a sub­urb of Van­cou­ver, since after the Sep­tem­ber 2021 fed­er­al elec­tion when Steve­ston-Rich­mond East Con­ser­v­a­tive MP Ken­ny Chiu lost fol­low­ing accu­sa­tions of pro-Bei­jing mes­sag­ing and mis­in­for­ma­tion on Chi­nese state-con­trolled social media (WeChat). The arti­cle also cit­ed Cana­di­an Secu­ri­ty and Intel­li­gence Ser­vices (CSIS) direc­tor David Vigneault, who has pub­licly been brief­ing local gov­ern­ment offi­cials on for­eign inter­fer­ence. In ear­ly Octo­ber 2021, the GIOR had report­ed the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty (CCP), and relat­ed actors were tar­get­ing the cred­i­bil­i­ty of Chi­nese-Cana­di­an fed­er­al can­di­dates and Con­ser­v­a­tive Par­ty leader Erin O’Toole in the fall 2021 fed­er­al election.

Cana­di­an media also report­ed in ear­ly Octo­ber 2021 that a sen­a­tor accused of being a pup­pet for Bei­jing par­tic­i­pat­ed in a Van­cou­ver event cel­e­brat­ing 72 years of Chi­nese Com­mu­nist rule and the Bei­jing 2022 Win­ter Olympics. Accord­ing to report, Yuen Pau Woo, a 2016 Justin Trudeau appointee, was the only fed­er­al politi­cian at the Octo­ber 2 cer­e­mo­ny, which fea­tured the Chi­nese Deputy Con­sul General:

Octo­ber 4, 2021 The sen­a­tor accused of being a pup­pet for Bei­jing stood along­side the Deputy Con­sul Gen­er­al for the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na at an event cel­e­brat­ing 72 years of Com­mu­nist rule and the Bei­jing 2022 Win­ter Olympics. Yuen Pau Woo, a 2016 Justin Trudeau appointee, was the only fed­er­al politi­cian at the Oct. 2 cer­e­mo­ny beside the Van­cou­ver 2010 Olympic caul­dron on Jack Poole Plaza. It was the day after China’s nation­al day and a week since Meng Wanzhou returned to Chi­na and hostages Michael Kovrig and Michael Spa­vor to Cana­da. Woo, sport­ing a Chi­nese Olympic Com­mit­tee face mask, appeared at a pub­lic event in Van­cou­ver for the first time since ex-Con­ser­v­a­tive cab­i­net min­is­ter and diplo­mat Chris Alexan­der pub­licly called for his res­ig­na­tion. Last June, Woo opposed the two-pronged House of Com­mons motion that called China’s treat­ment of Uyghur Mus­lims geno­cide and asked the Inter­na­tion­al Olympic Com­mit­tee to find anoth­er host city.

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The report explains that the event billed as the 3rd Chi­nese Cul­ture and Arts Fes­ti­val, was co-host­ed by the Cana­di­an Alliance of Chi­nese Asso­ci­a­tions and the Cana­da Sichuanese Friend­ship Asso­ci­a­tion, both asso­ci­at­ed with the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s Unit­ed Front for­eign influ­ence program.

The Unit­ed Front Work Depart­ment is a lit­tle-known Bei­jing-based agency with branch­es around the world that seeks to imple­ment the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s (CCP) plans to set up and con­nect an exten­sive net­work of asso­ci­a­tions, busi­ness groups, friend­ship soci­eties, or cul­tur­al groups sup­port­ive of the CCP and to ensure that its over­seas cit­i­zens, and oth­ers of eth­nic Chi­nese descent, stay loy­al. Accord­ing to a US gov­ern­ment report, Unit­ed Front work pro­motes Beijing’s pre­ferred glob­al nar­ra­tive, pres­sures indi­vid­u­als liv­ing in free and open soci­eties to self-cen­sor and avoid dis­cussing issues unfa­vor­able to the CCP and harass or under­mine groups crit­i­cal of Beijing’s policies.

For a com­plete time­line of relat­ed events in the Van­cou­ver area, go here.


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