As Tories review election loss, weak support in immigrant communities a crucial issue

Article over-dramatises even if there is a need for a review.
Margins in many of these ridings were relatively small. Moreover, in Ontario, the provincial conservatives swept most of the same seats and, as the article notes, active outreach by Conservatives allowed them to make inroads.
But beyond the 41 ridings, there are an additional 93 ridings with between 20 and 50 percent visible minorities which should also be looked at:
The Conservative Party is only beginning to sift through the data from the 2021 election, but there is at least one warning light flashing red on the dashboard: the party has been nearly wiped out in Canadian ridings where visible minorities form the majority.

Of the 41 ridings in Canada where more than half the population is racialized, the Conservatives won just one in the 2021 election — Calgary Forest Lawn — despite winning 119 seats overall.

Source: As Tories review election loss, weak support in immigrant communities a crucial issue

Chris Alexander: China Against the Rule of Law

More on Senators Woo, Harder and Boehm. Again, given the release of the two Michaels, time for them to take a tougher line on Chinese government actions such as extensive arbitrary detention, crushing democracy in Hong Kong, and the ongoing repression of Uighurs:

On the same day Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor arrived home, the Honourable Yuen Pau Woo, an independent senator appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016, tweeted an invitation to Canadians to savour the happy moment. He also congratulated Canada’s ambassador Dominic Barton, and suggested there was “an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned.”

Without offering any didactic points of his own, the honourable senator provided a link to an opinion piece from the Toronto Star whose core message was that “the United States, assisted by Canada, took Meng hostage in the first place as part of its trade-and-technology war with China (…).” “Should Ottawa have arrested Meng in the first place?” asked author Wenran Jiang, an advisory board member of the Toronto-based Institute for Peace & Diplomacy. “Why did this final package deal take so long if a ‘hostage exchange’ is the result?” 

This senator’s choice of lessons was unsurprising. In June of this year, he was instrumental in defeating a Senate motion to recognize China’s genocide against the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims — contradicting the elected House of Commons, which passed a similar measure in February by a vote of 266 to zero. Senator Woo then side-stepped discussion of a proposed boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, arguing politics should not influence sporting events. Again, this went against a unanimous motion of Canada’s House of Commons on February 22, 2021 calling “upon the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympic Games” in light of the continuing genocide against Uighurs and others.

Yuen Pau Woo was joined in these arguments by senators Peter Boehm and Peter Harder, both seasoned diplomats, who also urged Canada to suspend its judgement with regard to China’s persecution of the Uighurs. This includes the use of concentration camps and forced labour, as well as the repression of language, culture and religion. These are all blatant acts committed with the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” as the 1951 Genocide Convention defines this “odious scourge.”

Throughout this unfortunate saga, Beijing has had a Greek chorus of supporters across Canada — mostly from people with well-remunerated corporate or political backgrounds — for the preposterous notion of a “prisoner exchange” that would get relations with China back to “normal.”

In the end, the Senate’s genocide motion failed by a vote of 29 in favour to 33 opposed, with 13 abstentions. China’s Foreign Ministry praised Woo, Boehm and Harder as “people of vision” who had seen through the “despicable schemes of a few anti-China forces.” The “clumsy trick of attacking China for selfish political gains” and “the hype of ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is unpopular and doomed to fail,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson crowed.

Had Woo, a former president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and the “two Peters,” both former deputy ministers of foreign affairs, voted in favour, the Senate’s genocide motion would have passed. Instead all three chose, on an issue directly threatening the identity and lives of millions, to take the position of the Communist Party of China over one unanimously endorsed by Canada’s elected House of Commons — all in the empty hope of getting back to “normal” with Beijing.

The truth is that “normal” in the People’s Republic of China, at least since 1959, has never included the rule of law. From China’s ferocious and brutal invasion of Tibet that same year, through the murderous Great Leap Forward ending in 1962, to the decade-long Cultural Revolution up to Mao’s death in 1976 (and beyond), China has been a legal void. Serious judicial reforms never featured in Deng Xiaoping’s economic relaunch. On the contrary, basic rights were decimated, as Tibetan, Mongolian, Uighur and other refugees attest.

According to Freedom House, the current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping’s relentless push for all-encompassing surveillance and censorship has made China the worst environment in the world for internet freedomfor the seventh year running. Compliance with such global gag orders is enforced by the CCP’s Orwellian digital panopticon, the notorious United Front Work Department, which seeks to browbeat, buy, corrupt, blackmail, extort or otherwise leverage people and firms with connections to China in support of Xi’s agenda.

Thanks to United Front subterfuge, some prominent Canadians still take China’s side, even as Beijing’s favourability score in Canadian public opinion plummeted to 14 per cent, mirroring a worldwide nosedive for China’s image driven by the two Michaels’ ordeal and Beijing’s “wolf warrior” belligerence.

Canada has a decidedly mixed record of confronting outrages by Beijing’s Communist rulers. On the one hand, we fought in Korea. But on the other hand, Norman Bethune and Pierre Trudeau remain bywords for indifference to the brutality of Chinese Communists under Mao.

Self-indulgent aloofness has cost us. Huawei’s rise was reportedly fuelled by massive theft of intellectual property from Nortel, once the darling of Canada’s tech industry. Canadians were among the first to be disenfranchised by the demise of democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, China’s merchandise exports to Canada remain nearly triple what we export to them, even as 115 Canadians languish in Chinese jails, including Uighur activist Huseyin Celil and four others who are on death row

Today’s China under Xi uses strong-arm tactics straight out of Soviet Cold War playbooks. From Cambodia to the Czech Republic, it is corrupting democratic politicsand tilting cyber-space to boost United Front agitprop. (Though ironically, China’s level of global ambition is rising just as its growth path starts to look unsustainable.)

The Meng Wanzhou saga should remind us that the rule of law, which China lacks, remains a crucial “distinction with a difference” between us. In a tweet back in April, Senator Woo urged Canada and China to “recognize the legitimacy of each other’s judicial system.” Yet of eight principles constituting the rule of law identified by a former Lord Chief Justice of the United Kingdom, China today fulfills barely two.

Despite all the speculation about political interference and “diplomatic triangulation,” it was Canada’s rule of law that ultimately prevailed in the cases of Meng Wanzhou, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. The deferred prosecution agreement Meng ultimately accepted had been on the table for years: she reportedly elected to take it when her legal team learned the B.C. court was likely to make a ruling in October clearing the way for her extradition.

Rather than face a full U.S. trial, Meng exercised an option that had been available since early 2019. This leaves Meng free, but Huawei still in legal jeopardy. Meanwhile, the costs to China’s reputation worldwide and Huawei’s global business have been asymmetrical, astronomical and devastating. Any illusions about progress towards independent Chinese justice institutions have been shattered, as the reality of genocide and repression across China come into ever sharper focus.

Democratic politics glories in disagreement. But democratic politicians that parrot the propaganda of dictators do unnecessary discredit to our institutions. Meng Wanzhou enjoyed every benefit of the rule of law in confessing to having misled U.S. authorities about Huawei’s attempts to skirt Iran-related sanctions. The two Michaels did not.

Canada’s answer to their ordeal should be to relocate or boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics: the ghastly legacy of Hitler’s 1936 horror show requires that states committing genocide never host Olympic Games.

This is the least we can do for repressed Uighur Muslims, Tibetans, Mongolians and others still facing erasure by genocide, as well as Hong King’s brave democratic activists, many of whom who are now in jail or in exile. These persecuted people revere the rule of law in Canada as the real hero in this drama. Indeed, in the face of China’s drum roll of threats, our institutions held up remarkably well, despite the best efforts of a number of prominent Canadians to undermine them.

Our principled commitment to upholding the rule of law in China starts now — by fulfilling the commitment our democratically-elected representatives made to ensure Olympic Games are not held in a country now perpetrating genocide.

Chris Alexander was Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (2013-15) and Parliamentary Secretary for National Defence (2011-13). He served for 12 years in Canadian embassies in Russia and Afghanistan, wrote The Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace (2011) and recently released Ending Pakistan’s Proxy War in Afghanistan. He is a Distinguished Fellow for the Canadian International Council.

Source: https://email.mg1.substack.com/c/eJxVUk2P4jAM_TX01iof_aCHHGany0yZLWg1wA5cqjRJaSAkVZtSyq_fDOxlpTi2nu1nyc-MWnE03URa01vv-yvt1AqixdgrYa3ovKEXXSk5gSCBaQQSjxOQIJZUnuzLuhPiQqUiXjtUSjJqpdHf1QkAGHkNiWGF4phDkEY0SVg6D2PG0TyCUYzqOU-fM-nApdBMEKPVVLZUck-Rxtq2n-GXGVq4ZxuhpBZBP1S9pewcMHNxcOuMNZ3sfarEjWouOp81UlOfHqnUvfVd4wwvrDkLPcOZmJaQod30hdQ5P5lbkbHberMdV9Mo2Vt654u0Pbzm8SrLXS4fi_vPPr-ohjus2Ozvxb2ARbYf15-jpF-ru-OQ7H0nf23YWGTFlEvHg3fygX_zvcLp8Gdx4m_qWsllGmz9KL9uPny2iq757-vwsa7BarecXn40Z4pND9X7jR62m8zuPUkQQBACEEKEAYgDFIQpCgGoBWJ0XoEYBSkzp7kZq1kILkf433q8jriFdGJUx07WtbSNK5JMmYE_0k6y0vnLoKWdSqFppQQnthuEZ58H8dC2PAotOncovKSWwBhjHIEYAhc91XNyhwgCBDD03HxuXJcm_wT7C6NFzsw

China’s ‘mouthpiece’: Senator faces online backlash, calls to resign after 2 Michaels, Meng tweet

Hopefully, after the release of the Michaels, senators can stop defeating such motions and take a more principled stand against these human rights abuses and genocidal policies:

Last June, 33 Canadian senators voted to defeat a motion decrying China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims as a genocide.

While they all faced criticism from some quarters, only one – Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, leader of the Independent Senators Group – seems to have been singled out as an alleged stooge of China’s communist regime, told to resign and “go home.”

Last week, Woo got a similar reaction when he tweeted about the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the two Canadians arbitrarily detained by China for nearly three years in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the behest of the United States.

Woo tweeted that it was a “happy day” for the families of the Canadian men who became known around the world as the “two Michaels” and for Meng, who was simultaneously released and allowed to return to China. He urged Canadians to ponder the lessons learned from the affair.

He attached a link to an op-ed published in the Toronto Star that cited a former U.S. ambassador, Chas Freeman, saying that the “U.S., assisted by Canada, took Meng hostage in the first place as part of its trade-and-technology war with China.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1441859293012107267&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fglobalnews.ca%2Fnews%2F8239522%2Fsenator-yuen-pau-woo-twitter-backlash%2F&sessionId=9cf2c0f941ed20ab9b0ab51ba030b1947357d4fe&siteScreenName=globalnews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=fcb1942%3A1632982954711&width=500px

That earned Woo a scathing rebuke from Chris Alexander, a former diplomat and one-time immigration minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

“By claiming Meng was ‘taken hostage’ by Canada, @yuenpauwoo has violated his oath as a Canadian senator and should resign,” Alexander tweeted.

“Mouthpieces for foreign propaganda … should have no place in Canada’s Parliament,” he added.

Alexander’s tweet was shared by others who variously referred to Woo as “pond scum” and a “Chinese commie f—” who should be “sent back to China along with Meng.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1442119591782666240&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fglobalnews.ca%2Fnews%2F8239522%2Fsenator-yuen-pau-woo-twitter-backlash%2F&sessionId=9cf2c0f941ed20ab9b0ab51ba030b1947357d4fe&siteScreenName=globalnews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=fcb1942%3A1632982954711&width=500px

China has maintained from the outset that Meng’s arrest was politically motivated. Canada and the U.S. have strenuously denied it but plenty of American and Canadian experts nevertheless share Freeman’s view that she was a political bargaining chip.

That view was fuelled by former U.S. president Donald Trump, who was attempting to negotiate a trade deal with China at the time of Meng’s arrest and who said he’d intervene in her extradition case “if I think it’s good for what will be the largest trade deal ever made.”

John Manley, a former Liberal deputy prime minister and Canadian foreign affairs minister, said at the time that Trump’s comments had “given Ms. Meng’s lawyers quite a good reason to go to the court and say, ‘This is not an extradition matter. This is actually leverage in a trade dispute and it’s got nothing to do with Canada.”’

Woo notes that Manley and others who have echoed similar views have not been denounced as mouthpieces for China.

That’s a specific kind of opprobrium, he believes, meant to stigmatize people of Chinese descent and he’s worried about where the rising tide of anti-Asian sentiment in Canada could lead.

“I am Exhibit A, if you will, only because I have a bit of public profile,” Woo said in an interview.

“But there are many others in the community who do not have my protections and are genuinely fearful of the increasing typecasting and stigmatization that’s going on.”

Woo was actually born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore before coming to Canada at age 16.

He has been accused of being unabashedly “Beijing friendly,” a mouthpiece and lobbyist for the Communist Party of China, even though he points out he’s “three generations removed from the mainland (China).”

He fears recent immigrants from China, who still have connections to family there, are considered even more suspect and are less able to defend themselves.

Woo points to reports suggesting that Chinese Canadians might have been influenced by or acting on the behest of China when they voted in last month’s federal election, resulting in the defeat of several Conservative incumbents who had advocated a hardline stance against Beijing.

“This is really a slanderous and dangerous way of thinking because it makes assumptions about Chinese Canadians ? who have views that may not be mainstream (and) it presumes that they are not able to think for themselves,” he said.

“The accusation that they are foreign agents or stooges of the Chinese government is a very, very serious allegation and, of course, hearkens back to the days of McCarthyism when careers were ruined and lives were lost and we have to be very careful not to go back to that place.”

One of those defeated Conservative MPs, Kenny Chiu, who lost his B.C. riding to a Liberal in the Sept. 20 election, told The Canadian Press that during the campaign there were WeChat posts he says contained false information about the Conservatives and allegations a private member’s bill he tabled would discriminate against Chinese Canadians. But he also said his party could have done a better job speaking directly to members of that community.

When Woo spoke against the motion labelling China’s treatment of Uyghurs a genocide last June, he argued that Canada, given its history of forcing Indigenous children to attend residential schools, should not try to lecture China from a position of moral superiority on human rights.

Rather, he said, Canada should appeal to its Chinese “friends” not to make the same morally wrong and societally damaging mistake of trying to repress and forcibly assimilate a minority group.

Sen. Peter Harder, the former government representative in the Senate who now sits with the Progressive Senate Group, made a similar argument.

Sen. Peter Boehm, a former senior Global Affairs bureaucrat and Sherpa for prime ministers at G7 summits, argued that the motion’s “few paragraphs of what passes for megaphone diplomacy” would accomplish nothing, other than to anger China and possibly hurt attempts to win the release of Kovrig and Spavor.

Boehm, a member of the Independent Senators Group, said in an interview that both he and Harder got “a few brickbats” for their speeches, including from his former colleague, Alexander.

Alexander could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

“What I was getting was ‘You’re an experienced diplomat, you should know better, shame on you.’ That was basically what I was getting from Chris Alexander and from others who consider themselves experts,” Boehm said.

But unlike Woo, he said: “No one has tweeted or commented that I should go back to China.”

Boehm agrees with Woo that “there’s a correlation here with anti-Asian racism on the rise in Canada and some of this is permeating into the utterances or what various Canadians who should know better are putting on their social media feeds.

“I think it’s unfair and demeaning.”

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/8239522/senator-yuen-pau-woo-twitter-backlash/?utm_campaign=David%20Akin%27s%20🇨🇦%20Roundup&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

Saint-Jacques: After the two Michaels’ release, Canada must work with allies to challenge China’s bullying tactics

Sound commentary:

The return of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to Canada should be celebrated as they were unfortunate pawns in the geopolitical contest between China and the United States. Let’s hope that they can get back to a normal life quickly ‒ and that Canada was not forced to agree to egregious demands from China to guarantee their release.

As we take stock of this sad episode, we have to look at our China policy from the perspectives of security, trade and co-operation. The starting point should be the defence and protection of our values and interests. As trust has been broken, future Canadian engagement with China will have to be a lot more selective to areas that serve our interest, and be implemented in a consistent manner.

Canada needs to recover its voice. Ottawa must call China into question when it transgresses obligations undertaken through international treaties. This includes problems such as the trampling of human rights in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, the militarization of the South China Sea, the undue pressure on Taiwan and Beijing’s refusal to collaborate with the World Health Organization to investigate the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the case of Meng Wanzhou, it is not impossible that we will be asked again to arrest a prominent Chinese citizen at the request of a foreign country with which we have an extradition treaty ‒ or that we will have to arrest someone here who is engaging in espionage or interference activities. We have to put mechanisms in place to prevent future hostage taking. One way would be for Canada to develop criteria that would trigger common responses, including sanctions, by countries that have signed the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. All these countries have realized that what happened to the Michaels was pure hostage diplomacy and that it could happen to their citizens, too.

Canada should also ban Huawei from its 5G development to ensure that the company’s equipment cannot be used for espionage and to align with the United States. It must also become a lot more active to prevent Chinese interference in domestic affairs, including cyber espionage. A good starting point would be to look at the four foreign interference laws adopted by Australia.

To prevent China from using trade to punish opponents, Canada should impress on Washington that it needs to make the World Trade Organization functional again by allowing arbiters to be appointed to panels. Countries could then launch actions against China when it imposes punitive sanctions(this would apply to other countries that enact these measures as well). Canada could suggest an alliance to Australia and U.S. (to start), whereby they agree not to increase exports to China beyond their historical share of a given product if one of them is victim of such sanctions. Trade data for the first six months of 2021 show that our exports to China have increased by 23 per cent on a year-to-year basis. This gives us more leeway to take strong measures as China will always need our agri-food products, iron and copper.

There are, of course, areas where it is in our interest to pursue co-operation with China. For example, on the environment, Canada already has a reputable record of providing assistance. This can facilitate business opportunities for Canada to provide China with clean technologies, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen to help reduce its coal emissions. On public health and pandemics, Canada should continue to collaborate with China ‒ especially to ensure it doesn’t cut corners. There’s also people-to-people exchanges: Chinese people like to travel to Canada for tourism and appreciate Canadian education for their children. We also have our own homework to do: Let’s increase Canadian literacy on China by devoting more resources to Mandarin training and centres studying the country’s politics, economics and culture.

But demonstrating strength, first and foremost, is key. To be successful, this new engagement strategy will have to be implemented in close collaboration with like-minded countries. An impending test to do so will be at Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics. Let’s propose that delegations to the opening ceremony be limited, and that foreign leaders not attend. The more we speak with one voice and the more China will be forced to stop its bullying tactics.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-after-the-two-michaels-release-canada-must-work-with-allies-to/

Liberals must demand probe into any China election meddling

Agree.

But I would hope that we will also get some insight from academics and community members other factors that may also have played a role. A question I have is whether a weaker CPC position on masking and vaccines may have also contributed, given Chinese Canadians, judging by Richmond numbers, were less averse to COVID restrictions than some other groups:

It’s a common trope that foreign policy is never a ballot question. As riled up as Canadians got about Afghanistan in our recent election, research showed it had little impact on the choices they ultimately made. Bread and butter issues like childcare or concerns about climate change mattered more than how well the prime minister performed — or did not perform — on the world stage.

Or did it? There is growing evidence that for some voters, foreign matters played a key role, not due to personal preference, but foreign interference. And that interference had a direct impact on votes, seat count, and the shape of the 44th Parliament.

Source: Liberals must demand probe into any China election meddling

Conservatives could have done better job talking to Chinese Canadian voters: ex-MP

Of note:

A former Conservative MP who lost his seat in the recent election thinks the party could have done a better job speaking directly to Chinese Canadians.

Kenny Chiu was defeated in Steveston-Richmond East, a British Columbia riding with many residents of Chinese descent.

The party also saw the losses of longtime Conservative MP Alice Wong in Richmond Centre and Bob Saroya in Markham-Unionville, both home to many voters with Chinese roots. Neither responded to requests for comment from The Canadian Press.

The defeats have the Conservatives wondering what happened, and what connection the losses might have to the party’s stance and messaging on China.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has been an outspoken critic of China’s human rights abuses, calling on the Liberal government to adopt a tougher approach with the authoritarian regime.

Chiu says there’s no single reason for his loss, but points to online WeChat posts he says contained false information about the Conservatives and allegations a private member’s bill he tabled would discriminate against Chinese Canadians.

“Hindsight is always 20/20. I think there could be more proactive communication directly addressing Canadians of Chinese descent that we could have done,” Chiu said in an interview.

The party could have bought more targeted advertisements, he said, adding it’s clear the communication efforts weren’t enough to counter what he considers misinformation.

Improving how Conservatives speak to constituents is one of the issues Chiu said he had hoped to raise heading into the next session of Parliament. Another was how to reassure people that their criticism of the potential influence of the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t mean they are attacking China, a country with a rich and storied history, or its people.

O’Toole hasn’t addressed the issue specifically, but expressed general disappointment in last week’s election results, promising that what went wrong will be examined in a postelection review. Details have yet to be provided on its parameters or who will lead it.

Besides failing to grow the party in key areas like the Greater Toronto Area and Metro Vancouver, home to many immigrants and new Canadians, the Conservatives have five fewer elected people of colour because of defeats in and around these two cities, as well as in Calgary.

That comes as a hit to O’Toole’s pledge to grow the party, and make it a place where more Canadians and people of all backgrounds call home.

During the campaign he tried courting voters by telling them Conservatives were no longer their dad’s or grandfather’s party, despite having a predominantly white caucus.

For Tenzin Khangsar, who worked for Jason Kenney when the Alberta premier served as immigration minister under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, success in making inroads with newcomer communities came down to having an authentic presence there before any election was called.

Under Harper, Kenney prioritized aggressive outreach with diaspora communities, noting that Canada’s demographics had changed.

Kenney was a key supporter of O’Toole’s when he ran to win the party’s leadership in 2020, with O’Toole crediting his former colleague for having helped grow the party when he served in Harper’s cabinet.

More recently, Conservative MPs including Alberta’s Tim Uppal have apologized for not speaking out when he was in Harper’s government against its efforts to ban face coverings during citizenship ceremonies and its 2015 election promise to set up a so-called “barbaric cultural practices” hotline.

Source: Conservatives could have done better job talking to Chinese Canadian voters: ex-MP

Defeated Conservative MP fears attacks by pro-Beijing forces swung votes against him 

I was less surprised by Chiu’s defeat given that the riding has a recent history of flipping than Alice Wong’s defeat after holding the seat since 2008. Agree with Burton that an investigation would be helpful to assess the impact compared to other factors (e.g., did vaccine and masking mandates have an impact given some CPC mixed messaging):

When Kenny Chiu introduced a private member’s bill that would set up a registry for agents of foreign governments, he may well have painted a target on his back.

The bill was inspired largely by China’s suspected interference in Canada and the B.C. Conservative says he was attacked over it in Chinese-language media throughout the election.

Some of the bashing bled into mainstream social media, with one poster on Twitter this week saying “I’ve never seen a more self-hating Chinese person in my life.”

Much of the criticism, Chiu says, misrepresented what that legislation really stated, but it had its effect.

Constituents in his Steveston-Richmond East riding who had previously voted for Chiu suddenly gave him the cold shoulder.

“When I go door knocking … there have been supporters of mine who just shut the door in my face,” said the politician. “There is so much hatred that I sense.”

And then on Monday, Chiu lost to Liberal Parm Bains by almost 3,000 votes, just two years after he was first elected, even as the Liberals more or less duplicated their 2019 performance.

His defeat — and that of other Conservative MPs in ridings dominated by Chinese Canadians, – has raised the question of whether proxies for the People’s Republic government managed to influence the election – just as security agencies and other watchdogs have warned could happen.

Chiu stresses that his issue is with China’s regime, but said online critics implied that meant he was opposed to the country itself and even the race, despite his own Chinese heritage.

He said Chinese-Canadians — even if they ended up disliking him – are victims themselves of such disinformation.

Charles Burton, a former diplomat in Beijing who’s fluent in Mandarin, said he tried to help Chiu by seeking out and warning him about disinformation on WeChat, the popular Chinese social media site, and elsewhere online.

But there seemed little they could do about it.

“It spread like a cancer over his campaign,” said Burton, a fellow with the Macdonald Laurier Institute and prominent critic of Beijing. “He just saw his campaign disintegrating over the last couple of weeks.”

Burton said Canadian authorities should investigate the online campaigns to determine if the Chinese government itself was behind the attacks.

He is not the first to raise the issue. David Vigneault, head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said in a speech in February that attempts by foreign states to influence Canadian politics and politicians were among the agency’s “most paramount concerns.”

Bains could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and there is no suggestion he had anything to do with the online sniping Chiu faced.

In fact, the Liberals themselves have been the target of harsh attacks from the Chinese government and state-run media in the ongoing feud over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

It spread like a cancer over his campaign

But there was evidence that China’s focus turned during the election to the Conservatives, whose platform outlined a multi-pronged approach to confronting Beijing. That included barring Huawei from 5G networks, imposing Magnitsky-style sanctions on Chinese rights violators and advising universities against partnering with state-owned companies.

The Liberal platform made a brief mention of measures to combat “illegal and unacceptable behaviour by authoritarian states,” singling out China, Iran and Russia.

In what appeared to be a comment on the Conservative blueprint, Chinese ambassador Cong Peiwu told the Hill Times newspaper in August that China opposes politicians who “hype” or “smear” the country. Then barely a week before election day, the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times ran a story blasting the Tories’ policies, predicting that if the party were elected China would launch a “strong counterstrike” against Canada.

Michael Chan, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister who has spoken in defence of Beijing, wrote in a recent Chinese-language column that implementing the Conservative policies could trigger hatred and discrimination against Chinese people.

It’s impossible at this point to determine what factors caused results in individual ridings, but Chiu was not the only Conservative incumbent to be defeated in seats with large Chinese-Canadian populations, people exposed to such ethnic-Chinese media.

Though not all the votes had been counted Tuesday, Alice Wong appeared headed for defeat in Richmond Centre, next to Chiu’s riding, despite having held the seat through four previous elections.

Bob Saroya lost the Toronto-area riding of Markham-Unionville — where almost two thirds of residents are ethnic Chinese — to Liberal Paul Chiang after taking the previous two elections.

They have chat rooms and chat groups dedicated to unseating Kenny Chiu

Chiu, a Hong Kong native, says he has never been shy about his dislike of the Communist government in Beijing. But last April he introduced a private member’s bill that would require any agents of a foreign government to register with Ottawa and report on their activities. It was modelled after similar legislation in Australia and a law that has been in force in the United States for several decades.

Local Chinese-language media ignored the bill when it was introduced but as the election campaign turned into a dead heat between the Liberals and Conservatives, “attacks rained down on me,” the former MP said.

An article posted anonymously on WeChat, and that later showed up on various other online platforms, suggested it was designed to “suppress” the Chinese community and that anyone connected to China would have to register.

A similar story on a Chinese-language site called Today Commercial News said it would curb the freedom of speech of the Chinese community and have a “profound impact” on Chinese Canadians.

In fact, the legislation would require registration only for those acting on behalf of foreign governments or political groups who lobby a senior civil servant or an elected politician. It has actually been criticized for being too narrowly focused.

Other WeChat posts suggested erroneously the Conservatives had proposed to ban the widely used social media site itself.

“It’s very much organized,” said Chiu. “They have chat rooms and chat groups dedicated to unseating Kenny Chiu.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Chinese Benevolent Association, a group that has repeatedly run advertisements backing up Beijing on contentious issues like Hong Kong’s National Security Law, hosted a free lunch on behalf of the Liberal candidate in Vancouver East riding.

New Democrat Jenny Kwan still managed to win the seat handily, however.

Source: https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/election-2021/defeated-tory-mp-fears-attacks-by-pro-beijing-forces-swung-votes-against-him

Islamic Terrorists or Chinese Dissidents? U.S. Grapples with Uyghur Dilemma

Header over-emphasizes terrorist/extremist angle and underplays, unlike article, human rights and cultural genocide angle:

President Joe Biden and his administration are grappling with a new foreign policy dilemma: how to deal with Uyghur separatists seeking to take on the People’s Republic of China and establish an independent Islamic state in the northwestern Xinjiang region at a time when Washington is also increasing pressure on Beijing.

The U.S. stance for the last two decades since the “war on terror” was declared after 9/11 has been to view groups such as Uyghurs factions as enemy actors, due to their reported links to Al-Qaeda. One such organization, a Uyghur separatist group known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), was added to the Terrorist Exclusion List, a Patriot Act measure designed to disallow suspected militant group members from entering the United States.

Over the course of the past 20 years, however, Washington’s foreign policy priorities have shifted dramatically, a change marked most notably by Biden’s military exit from Afghanistan. That exit was set in motion by Donald Trump, whose focus throughout his tenure in office was on another national foe, China.

In addition to confronting Beijing on trade, political unrest in Hong Kong and tensions over Taiwan, the Trump administration endorsed allegations that China was conducting a “genocide” in Xinjiang, the northwestern province that is home to the Uyghurs. The offenses were said to have occurred as part of China’s extensive counterterrorism measures in the region that included sprawling detainment camps, known officially as vocational education and training centers, in which more than one million people are believed by international critics to have been detained.

Chinese officials have strongly rejected these allegations, arguing that the facilities are a crucial part of the Communist nation’s national security strategy, Beijing’s own “war on terror.” Xinjiang was the site of a deadly Uyghur insurgency that began in the 1990s in the form of bombings, stabbings and vehicle rammings that killed scores of authorities and civilians alike.

The widening U.S.-China divergence on the narrative took a dramatic turn just days after the U.S. presidential election last November, when the Trump administration removed ETIM from the Terrorist Exclusion List, citing a lack of activity, even as Uyghur fighters set up camp in Afghanistan and Syria.

The Biden administration continues to support that stance.

“ETIM was removed from the list because, for more than a decade, there has been no credible evidence that ETIM continues to exist as the same organization that was conducting terrorist attacks in Syria at the time of their designation,” a State Department spokesperson told Newsweek.

As recently as February 2018, however, the Pentagon was conducting airstrikes against targets said to be linked to ETIM in Afghanistan.

But the State Department now sees it as a separate group altogether, one which is behind the active Uyghur insurgency in two conflict-ridden countries.

“Uyghur terrorists fighting in Syria and Afghanistan are members of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP),” the State Department spokesperson said, “a separate organization that China and others have incorrectly identified as ETIM.”

Yet the spokesperson noted that the two groups have nearly identical goals.

“TIP is an organization allied with the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qa’ida elements operating in Syria, and the group seeks to establish an independent Uyghur state, East Turkistan, in the area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China,” the State Department spokesperson said.

Asked by Newsweek whether the Biden administration planned to brand the still-active Turkistan Islamic Party as a candidate for the Terrorist Exclusion List or the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, the spokesperson declined to comment as a matter of protocol.

“The United States does not comment on deliberations related to our terrorist designation process,” the State Department spokesperson said.

One Man’s Terrorist, Another Man’s Freedom Fighter

The Turkestan Islamic Party itself has spurned the “terrorist” label that officials in Washington, Beijing and other governments have ascribed to it.

“We, on the part of the group, have not posed any threat to any person, group, state or people,” a spokesperson for the Turkestan Islamic Party’s political office told Newsweek, “and even the Chinese people only see good from us, because we do not oppress the people like the Chinese government.”

The spokesperson said that the group’s activities were limited to the Chinese state itself due to its controversial policies in Xinjiang.

“Even in the future, we do not have any idea for the likes of targeting, kidnapping, threatening or [doing] anything bad against an innocent person or country,” the Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson said, “and we do not have a problem with any person or country other than the unjust Chinese government.”

The spokesperson argued that any other illicit activities may be carried out by Chinese spy agencies in order to blame the Turkestan Islamic Party.

“Anything that happened or happens, this is not from our side, but will be from the unjust Chinese intelligence,” the Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson added, “because we are not terrorists who target innocent people like the Chinese government [does].”

At the same time, the group does not rule out waging armed struggle as a means to achieve its political aims.

“The Chinese government should leave the land of East Turkestan by the peaceful path,” the spokesperson said. “If they choose the path of war without leaving peacefully, then we have the right to choose all kinds of paths in order to restore our homeland.”

The region known to Uyghur separatist proponents as East Turkestan comprises around 25 million people living across a span of some 700,000 miles of China’s Xinjiang and parts of neighboring Gansu and Qinghai provinces — roughly the size of France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ireland combined.

The area came under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party with the rest of the mainland as Mao Zedong’s victorious People’s Liberation Army drove the nationalist Republic of China forces to exile in Taiwan in 1949.

At the time, the Soviet Union, the world’s top communist power, backed the East Turkestan separatists as a check against Chinese power.

The People’s Republic of China today recognizes some 56 ethnic communities, including the majority Han population, the world’s largest ethnic group, which has increasingly expanded throughout the nation.

This migration is rooted in economic motives as China rapidly developed in recent decades, but those supportive of the separatist East Turkestan cause saw a state-sponsored plot to actively suppress Uyghur culture.

“East Turkestan is the land of the Uyghurs,” the Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson said. “After the Chinese government occupied our homeland by force, they forced us to leave our homeland because of their oppression against us. The whole world knows that East Turkestan has always been the land of the Uyghurs.”

Source: Islamic Terrorists or Chinese Dissidents? U.S. Grapples with Uyghur Dilemma

Chinese Culture and the Red Line of Morality

Of note:

Last week, members of China’s television, radio, and online entertainment sectors were made to attend a symposium in Beijing with the theme Love the Party, Love the Country, Advocate Morality and Art. They were instructed to abandon vulgarity, hedonism, the worship of money, and “extreme individualism.” These vague injunctions arrive amid China’s heaviest cultural crackdown in years. Film stars like Zhao Wei have been mysteriously memory-holed, their movies completely removed from streaming platforms, their credits erased from film information sites. “Once you touch the red line of law and morality,” warned state mouthpiece the People’s Daily, “you will reach the finish line of the road of performing arts.” If the exact nature of this “red line” remained unclear, another editorial put a finer point on the matter: Chinese films must be more socialist from now on.

American Idol-style TV shows have been banned; next on the list are karaoke songsthat fail to “promote socialist core values.” These moves are part of an attempt to end the “worship [of] Western culture.” True socialism has no time for smut, and so the sale of sex toys has been banned during livestreams hosted on e-commerce websites. One week before the symposium, the Party zeroed in on the specific problem of effeminate male TV celebrities: “Resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” broadcasters were told. Days later, building on recent video game restrictions for Chinese children, gaming companies Tencent and NetEase were ordered to cut content that encourages effeminacy.

All this machismo is beginning to attract admiring glances and approving noises from Westerners worried about their own culture’s alleged feminisation, but these lessons in morality are being delivered by the worst conceivable teacher. Lest we forget, this is a regime that packs ethnic minorities into concentration camps where the prettiest women are raped every day, sometimes with electric batons. This is a country where the founder of an orphanage for deprived children is arrested, tortured, and then sent to prison for 22 years. Bangri Rinpoche’s orphanage was declared an “illegal organisation” and the children he had saved were turned onto the street. In Communist China, civil society is always smothered in the crib. The moment we turn to such a regime for lessons on morality is the moment we lose our way completely.

The Party’s stern alternative to all that sex and pop and sissy chaos is “Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture, and advanced socialist culture.” Numbers two and three on the list indicate that Beijing understands culture about as well as it understands morality. George Orwell saw the problem clearly back in the pre-war years. As he observed in The Road to Wigan Pier, “Nearly everything describable as socialist literature is dull, tasteless, and bad. … Every writer of consequence and every book worth reading is on the other side. … Socialism has produced no literature worth having.”

This truth is borne out by the miserable state of China’s literary scene. When Anna Sun (assistant professor of sociology and Asian studies at Kenyon College) analysed the work of modern Chinese writers, she found that almost all of them had been infected by socialist language dating back to the Mao era—a clumsy jumble of communist jargon and Mao-ti (Maoist literary form). In fact, it’s not just the artists and intellectuals who speak this language—everyone does, from the diner in a restaurant who casually asks his friend to “Xiaomie [annihilate] the leftovers,” to the young mother who tells her little boy, as he struggles not to wet himself on the bus, “Jianchi! [Be resolute!]”

Originally fashioned to represent the authentic voice of the proletariat, Mao-ti is a language “repetitive, predictable, coarse, and mostly devoid of aesthetic value.” Sun argues that the most celebrated of today’s Chinese novelists actually owe everything to their translators. The language in which they were trained acts as a trap constricting thought, and as a result they can neither think nor write with the precision and truthfulness required of genuinely great novelists. Some have found that the only sure way to spring the trap is to abandon Chinese altogether, and write in English.

Even the Soviet Union had its Bulgakovs and its Pasternaks, of course, and there is no doubt that art sometimes flourishes in an atmosphere of oppression. But right from the very beginning, the CCP took the totalitarian impulse further than its predecessors—far enough that its natural supply of great literary voices was never allowed to develop. This was not the case in pre-revolutionary China. Sun cites with admiration Shen Congwen, Wang Zengqi, Lao She, Bing Xin, Qian Zhongshu, Fu Lei, Eileen Chang. In each of these cases the writer’s education occurred before Mao’s takeover, allowing them to develop a voice before they were exposed to the infection. Chang (widely considered the greatest short story writer of 20th-century China) even participated in re-education sessions once the communists were in charge, but it made no difference. Her writing still had too much complexity, too much depth, too much of her own voice. Incapable of descending to their crude level, she left for Hong Kong.

The incompatibility of classical Chinese with Mao-ti—of beauty with ugliness—shows the hopelessness of the Party’s dream to usher in a new culture that is at once “traditional” and “socialist.” These two cultural strains may have co-existed uneasily for decades in China (along with Western influence), but there can be no happy union of the two. They sit at opposite poles. Any emphasis on one of them will automatically undermine the other. It would be better to simply let go of the reins and allow Chinese culture to develop organically—something which has happened only once before.

While state propaganda paints the relatively open pre-communist period (1912–1949) as a time of chaos, societal weakness, and general regression, historian Frank Dikötter makes a convincing case in The Age of Openness: China Before Mao that those years really bore witness to a veritable golden age. Not only did China make political advancements; she enjoyed greater cultural diversity than at any point before or since. Religious movements long persecuted under the Qing were given their freedom. In the absence of both empire and socialism, Shanghai rose to become the Asian jazz Mecca; its numerous venues frequently played host to top musicians from the United States.

With the liberation of culture came the fast flourishing of individualism. Dikötter notes that “Women of all social backgrounds selected scarves, skirts, blouses, gowns, and corsets from a growing range of sartorial possibilities, using them in combinations which were often strikingly original: the use of the one-piece gown with a scarf and coat is but one example.” By 1934, when discussing new developments in public transport, the British traveller Peter Fleming was able to observe: “The running of a bus service, as compared with the running of a railway, is not only easier but offers more scope for individualism, and is therefore better suited to the Chinese character” [emphasis mine]. So much for the inherently collectivist nature of the Chinese. Just a few short years after the cultural shackles were removed, the natural human tendency towards individual self-expression had already asserted itself.

Then came the communist revolution, and the life was abruptly sucked out of China. Shanghai’s cafés and dance halls closed down; the Race Course at Nanking Road was transformed into a military barracks. Lipstick and makeup disappeared. Soon all of the men had crewcuts and all of the women wore their hair in short bobs. Everyone dressed in the same faded blue or grey cotton. And then in the 1960s, of course, Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution saw the widespread demolition of statues and temples, the smashing of antiques, and the burning of books. Today’s ominous developments do not mean that China is about to experience a second Cultural Revolution, but the promise of an “advanced socialist culture” bodes ill.

At last week’s Beijing symposium, one film director delivered a sycophantic addressin which he said, “It is our creators’ duty to do every work simply and unadornedly, and to pass positive energy silently to the audience.” This sentiment chimes with Stalin’s pithy proverb about writers being the engineers of the soul (a line echoed in recent years by Xi). And yet, the truth is that creators have a duty to their art and nothing else—not to their audience, not to “positive energy,” and least of all to some high-minded state-determined notion of the improvement of the people. Certainly art elevates, but not for reasons that we will ever be able to fathom.

As for the karaoke singalongs and American Idol copycat shows that sit at the other end of the spectrum, we might imagine that Chinese culture will suffer no great loss. But millions of people are about to have perfectly innocent pleasures removed from their lives, and this matters. In the small ways as well as the large, Xi Jinping continues to impose on a vibrant nation his narrow, pinched, joyless vision.

Source: Chinese Culture and the Red Line of Morality

A broadcast boycott is the last chance to mount serious resistance against the Beijing Olympic Games

Another option:

On Sept. 7, a group of 200 human rights groups wrote to Olympic broadcasters, including the CBC and NBC, asking them to cancel their coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Games and refrain from “sport washing” China’s lengthy list of human rights abuses

In doing so, the human rights groups aim to hit the International Olympic Committee (IOC) where it hurts most — its bank account. The IOC’s sale of broadcasting rights accounts for a whopping 73 per cent of its funding. Much of this is distributed to National Olympic Committees, propping up the broader Olympic system.

The COC and CPC can’t help

The call for a broadcast boycott came months after a coalition of 180 human rights groups issued an open letter to international governments back in February, urging nations to withdraw from Beijing 2022. In Canada, the Liberal government passed the buck to leaders of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC).

Reacting to the letter, the chief executive officers of the COC and the CPC — David Shoemaker and Karen O’Neill respectively — penned a joint op-ed in The Globe and Mail, predictably recycling an old anti-boycott argument.

“Boycotts don’t work. They punish only the athletes prevented from going, those they were meant to compete against and those who would have been inspired by them.”

But that’s not exactly true.

Writing on the international community’s sporting boycott of Apartheid South Africa, historian John Nauright suggests that “the psychological impact of sporting sanctions had perhaps the most potent role in undermining white South African confidence and complacency.” 

Although the Olympic boycott alone didn’t topple apartheid, it was part of an important range of sanctions that ultimately wore down the racist regime.

The COC and CPC’s response is to be expected. Both organizations are embedded in the Olympic industry and have a lot to lose. The COC is partially funded by the IOC, and the COC and CPC have already accepted funding from private sponsors to prepare for 2022.

Both Shoemaker and O’Neill are beholden to their respective board of directors, limiting their ability to rock the Olympic and Paralympic boat. In fact, the head of every national Olympic committee is, by definition, an IOC mouthpiece.

China’s human rights abuses are persistent and documented

The situation in China remains grim. Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are detained in massive concentration camps and reduced to forced labour. Tibetans continue to struggle under what Human Rights Watch terms “coercive assimilationist policies” intended to strangle and extinguish their culture.

Pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong were recently sentenced to up to five years in prison for participating in an anti-government march in 2019. Freedoms of religion, assembly, expression and speech are stifled. And those who attempt to flee are subject to recapture, imprisonment and torture.

The IOC is likely well informed about China’s human rights abuses. After all, its report, “Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy” was co-authored by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who had first-hand experience working with the country. Hussein lamented over China’s lack of co-operation, noting that his staff “have not been given unfettered access to the country, including to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the human rights situation is reportedly fast deteriorating.”

The IOC won’t budge

The IOC has a long history of paying lip service when it comes to human rights issues. For example, the Olympic Games routinely result in the displacement and abuse of host populations. No amount of lobbying from rights groups makes a difference. The IOC views hosting decisions in dollars and cents, and the cancellation of a single Games would mean billions in lost revenue.

When asked about China and human rights issues, IOC President Thomas Bach refused to denounce the country, skirting the question with vague assurances of peaceful internationalism.

In 2015, just seven years removed from the human rights debacle that was the Beijing 2008 Olympics — including the intimidation and imprisonment of those who dared resist the event — the IOC once again awarded Beijing the Games, this time for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

It was a controversial decision. Few nations wanted the Olympics, resulting in a two bid race between China and Kazakhstan, neither of which boast a strong human rights record. By selecting Bejing, the IOC chose to be complicit in China’s violation of human rights. 

Bigger than sport

The call for a broadcast boycott opens the door for international broadcasters to do something truly noble — take a stand in support of human rights and refuse to show the 2022 Beijing Olympics. As public and private national broadcasters respectively, the CBC and NBC are beholden to the general public above all else. Not national Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Not advertisers. Not the government. The people.

According to one recent poll, a majority of Canadians — amounting to 64 per cent of those surveyed — either “support” or “somewhat support” boycotting the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games. Americans, meanwhile, are nearly split down the middlewith 49 per cent supporting a boycott. As the Games edge closer, and China’s human rights violations inevitably face heightened scrutiny, the support to boycott will continue to grow.

Many people want to support the Uyghurs, Tibetans, pro-democracy advocates and others struggling for their human rights in China. As national broadcasters, the CBC and NBC can help people do just that. If international broadcasters choose not to boycott the Beijing Olympic Games, they will be complicit in the human rights abuses ongoing in China.

Source: https://theconversationcanada.cmail20.com/t/r-l-trqkijd-kyldjlthkt-f/