Open letter from Chinese-Canadian groups boosts Hong Kong government, blasts protesters

Expect we will see more of these debates emerge, some legitimate, some bots, some home-grown, some planted:

As protesters in Hong Kong continue to rally against Beijing’s tightening grip on the city, dozens of Chinese-Canadian groups have delivered a different message, voicing support for the enclave’s China-backed government and singling out violent “extremists” among the demonstrators.

The open letter published recently in Vancouver and Toronto Chinese-language newspapers is raising questions about who was behind the statement, with some fingers pointing at the Chinese government and its influence machine.

The authors of the message deny any outside involvement.

The advertisement, signed by over 200 organizations across the country, complained about radicals causing violence, defended China’s “inalienable” right to control Hong Kong, and appealed to Chinese Canadians’ ethnic identity.

“We support the rule of law and stability in Hong Kong, oppose the violent acts of a small number of extremists, oppose any Hong Kong independence movement … and support the Hong Kong government maintaining law and order,” the letter in Ming Pao newspaper said. “Hong Kong is China’s inalienable sovereign territory; Hong Kong’s affairs are China’s internal affairs; and we oppose any foreign interference.”

The ad marks a contrast to what happened on the streets of Hong Kong itself, where hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated against a law that would have allowed extradition of alleged criminals to mainland China. Critics feared the legislation could be used to dispatch enemies of Beijing to a legal system controlled by the Communist Party. Some observers view the mass protests also as a general pushback against China’s growing control of the city since the U.K. gave up control of it in 1997.

The movement shows little sign of ending soon. Even as Carry Lam, the Beijing-backed chief executive of the Hong Kong government, announced Tuesday the extradition law is now is dead and work on it was a “total failure,” critics expressed skepticism about the government’s intentions.

Why would groups purporting to represent the Chinese diaspora in democratic Canada take sides against such demonstrators?

Many of those signatories are shell groups beholden to Beijing, and the message was likely dictated by China’s representatives here, charges Cheuk Kwan of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China.

“These are basically fake organizations … They are what I call the mouthpieces of the Chinese consulate,” he said. “This is a very clearly United Front effort by the Chinese government … If it’s not instituted directly, then indirectly.”

Kwan was referring to the United Front Work Department, the Chinese Communist Party offshoot that works to influence ethnic Chinese and political and economic elites in other countries. Its role has expanded greatly under current Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Still, he admitted that Chinese Canadians are divided on the Hong Kong protests, with some supporting the demonstrators, and others wishing for a return to civil order.

Fenella Sung, spokesman for Vancouver’s Friends of Hong Kong, agreed that the “linguistic craftiness” of the letter seems typical of the United Front. She pointed especially to its appeal to ethnic nationalism, with statements that Chinese Canadians are “all sons of China and members of the Chinese people,” and “blood is thicker than water.”

There is “not a word about being Canadians, as if they have nothing to do with Canada,” said Sung. “The text of the ad could be used anywhere in the world.”

She also said it blatantly distorted the facts, suggesting protesters caused scores of injuries one day early in the event, when independent human rights groups blamed police action.

Yu Zhuowen of the Chinese Freemasons group in Toronto and one of the organizers of the statement, denied any government was involved, calling the letter a heartfelt appeal to restore peace in Hong Kong, his own hometown.

Yu said protesters misunderstand the extradition legislation — which he argued would protect the city from mainland-based criminals — and faced the same kind of police response they would have in Canada.

“We don’t want to see Hong Kong like this. I have my family in Hong Kong, too, I don’t want them to get hurt,” he said about the demonstrations. “In Canada or America, when the protesters come out, the police get them away right away, they use a lot of violence, too.”

Feature: “Iron Road” shows part of Canadian multiculturalism gene – Xinhua |

There has been more public recognition of both the role of Chinese in building the CPR and the head tax than portrayed in this article, although perhaps not enough:

There is no substitute like the movie “Iron Road” for the connection people can feel when they watch something from the history of Chinese-Canadian ties or Canadian multiculturalism.

“Iron Road” was screened in Toronto at the National Canadian Film Day last Wednesday. The movie, a Canada-China co-production, presents history against the backdrop of a pivotal event in Canadian history: the construction of the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s.

“Iron Road”, a literal translation of “railway” from Chinese into English, symbolizes the interface of the underdog lured by the “Gold Mountain” dream.

Based on the story that one Chinese girl traveled among 265 immigrants to Canada’s British Columbia province, the film depicts a love story between a Chinese girl named Little Tiger and a Canadian boy James. Little Tiger, disguised as a boy, goes in search of her long-lost railroad worker father in western Canada.

In the movie, from across the sea, Chinese immigrant laborers come by the thousands to seek their fortunes in Canada. They only get one-dollar per day, but they are given the most back-breaking and dangerous work to do. They clear and grade the railway’s roadbed. They blast tunnels through the rock. There are accidents, fires, and disasters. Landslides and dynamite blasts take many lives away.

However, those Chinese immigrant workers have never received the attention they deserve for constructing the railway, which stitched Canada together in its very early days to pave the way for a united and modern Canada.

It is recorded that more than 17,000 Chinese workers were recruited to build the railway at that time. Three Chinese laborers died for every mile of the railway they laid.

To an extent, “Iron Road” also taps into the rich emotional lives of a long-omitted chapter in Chinese Canadian history. It illuminates more fully than ever that the Chinese Canadian community has been present in Canada since before the Confederation and they have made great contribution to Canada.

“It is an amazing story of a cross-cultural love story set against historical facts with great shooting techniques. However, we nowadays as the young cinema professions should seek grander transnational perspectives to bring more of our stories on the big screen,” Jamie Shen said in an interview with Xinhua. Jamie graduated from Queen’s University Film and Media Program.

“We are deeply touched by this dramatic story of East meets West and cried for Chinese railroad workers’ miserable working conditions,” Amra, a sophomore from York University, told Xinhua after watching “Iron Road” with her friend Vera.

Although a slice of the “Iron Road” period is briefly mentioned in Grade 10 history class in Canada, a lot of young Canadian like Amra and her friend do not fully know the Chinese Head Tax and then Chinese laborers’ sacrifices.

Both Amra and Vera have been learning Chinese for almost three years. They are passionate about Chinese culture and are preparing their speech for the provincial audition of the “Chinese Bridge” – Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students Program, whose title is “We Are the World.”

They said they hope to know more Chinese culture and help strengthen the cultural ties between China and Canada to foster the true value of multiculturalism in Canada.

Source: Feature: “Iron Road” shows part of Canadian multiculturalism gene – Xinhua |

Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party posts mixed-bag results after its first byelection test

Of all the results of Monday’s by-elections, I found this to be the most interesting, given the role that Chinese Canadians appear to have played in the strong PPC result of 11 percent (39 percent of Burnaby South are Chinese origin).

If this pattern of relatively stronger support among Chinese Canadians prevails in the general election, there are six ridings with 40 percent or more Chinese origin (visible minority group) and 12 more with between 20-40 percent, all in BC’s lower mainland or the suburbs surrounding Toronto (the 905):

The fledgling People’s Party of Canada got off to an uneven start in its first electoral test Monday in a trio of federal byelections.

The party, founded last fall by former Conservative leadership contender Maxime Bernier, captured some 11 per cent of the vote in the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby South but failed to make much of a splash among voters in the rural Ontario riding of York—Simcoe or the urban Montreal-area riding of Outremont where the party had less than 2 per cent of the final tally.

Bernier tweeted early Tuesday that the poor Ontario and Quebec numbers were “disappointing” and said he “expected more” from those ridings while praising the more favourable Burnaby result as “great.”

“Our party was born only 5 months ago!” Bernier wrote. “This is only the beginning of our journey. We are in it for the long haul … Let’s work even harder now to find the best candidates and be ready for the general election.”

Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, a former Christian talk show host who had some name recognition before launching her candidacy, was tapped by Bernier to represent the People’s Party in Burnaby South. She delivered the best result of the night for the new political outfit.

While she was a source of controversy because of some past remarks, Thompson peeled away enough votes from the more established parties to place fourth overall.

Thompson, whose slogan was of “Canada for Canadians,” ran a decidedly populist campaign for Parliament. Thompson has said her base was heavily comprised of evangelical Chinese-Canadian churchgoers in the diverse B.C. riding.

The comparatively strong showing by Thompson — in a riding ultimately won by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — appeared to cut in to the Conservative party’s results in that riding.

Conservative Burnaby candidate, Jay Shin, captured about 23 per cent of the vote — five points less than what the previous Conservative candidate there managed to achieve in the 2015 federal election. Shin placed third behind Singh and Liberal candidate Richard T. Lee.

In central Canada, meanwhile, the People’s Party proved to be a marginal political force.

For example, in York—Simcoe, Ont., People’s Party candidate Robert Geurts, a criminal defence lawyer, placed a distant sixth out of nine candidates.

Geurts, best known for his past role as a prosecutor during the Paul Bernardo trial, was even outpaced by Dorian Baxter a candidate for the minor centre-right PC Party, an entity with a name similar to the now-defunct Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Scot Davidson ultimately held the rural seat for the Conservative party with a 20-point margin over Liberal Shaun Tanaka.

Fewer than 20 per cent of registered voters in York—Simcoe bothered to vote in Monday’s contest.

Even before the results were finalized, Bernier tweeted Monday that volunteers should be proud of what they accomplished so soon after the party was founded.

“The hundreds of volunteers who helped our candidates in Burnaby South, York–Simcoe and Outremont can be proud of what they achieved. They blazed a trail that thousands of others will follow across the country in October,” he said.

In Outremont, People’s Party candidate James Seale, a Canadian Army veteran, also failed to post a result better than 2 per cent of the vote.

Seale was a member of the armed forces for more than 30 years, and served overseas stints in Israel, Germany, Haiti and Bosnia before later becoming a military instructor and civil servant.

He said he was attracted to the party because of Bernier’s promise to increase investment in Canada’s defence.

While Bernier’s party disappointed in the Quebec riding, Green party candidate Daniel Green placed third — among the party’s best ever showing in la belle province.

Green, the deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, posted better numbers than Bloc Québécois candidate Michel Duchesne and Conservative candidate Jasmine Louras who placed fourth and fifth respectively in the riding that was last held by former NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

“The GPC has always been underestimated. But just watch us in October,” Green tweeted Monday in reference to the forthcoming federal election.

While Mulcair won the riding by more than 11 points in the 2015 federal election, Liberal Rachel Bendayan easily captured the seat Monday outpacing NDP candidate Julia Sánchez by more than 15 points.

Source: Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party posts mixed-bag results after its first byelection test

Immigrants who support People’s Party of Canada reject accusations of xenophobia in Burnaby South

More on populism and more on possible Chinese Canadian support for the PPC. Given the PPC received some 11 percent in Burnaby South, appears that the PPC did siphon some support from the Conservatives among Chinese Canadians:

When Ivan Pak went to Maxime Bernier’s first rally in Vancouver last November, he says he was “inspired” by the new party leader’s clear platform and policy commitments.

That’s the kind of leader Canada needs, he told Star Vancouver.

Bernier announced the “death of political correctness” via a Tweet last fall to his then 65,000 followers and launched the People’s Party of Canada, which has been gaining rapid traction. Widely viewed as aiming further right of the Conservative party, the PPC has been criticized for being anti-immigrant and espousing anti-globalist values and rhetoric.

But Pak, a first-generation immigrant from China, dispels those critiques as myths.

“Some people accuse the PPC of being a white people’s party of Canada, but for myself … I learned to speak English here. I’ve been here 22 years,” he said on Thursday, holding up PPC signs waiting for Bernier to make his first appearance in Burnaby South since Monday’s byelection was called in the riding.

“PPC welcomes people like me to be part of their party as long as we share the same Canadian values.”

But experts say core Canadian values are now divided and there’s very little common ground.

Michael Valpy is a senior fellow in public policy at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and a former Globe and Mail journalist who has been tracking the rise of ordered populism in Canada — or what economists refer to as “drawbridge-up” thinking.

Its proponents are often hostile toward immigration, deeply pessimistic about their economic future, mostly male and mainly white, he said. At Bernier’s event on Thursday in Burnaby South, this demographic was also present.

Nathaniel Allen, 30, told the Star he was a BC Liberal — the provincial party widely known to embrace conservative policies — 12 years ago until he lost interest. It wasn’t until the PPC came along that he found himself civically engaged.

“It just felt like the most pragmatic decision I could make,” he explained.

A Star investigation found that far-right supporters have called on their members to infiltrate the PPC, whether the party is willing or not. As the extreme right has done elsewhere, they hope to move on a new party, bit by bit, to bring the political extreme toward the mainstream.

Meanwhile, the yellow vest faction — which started as a labour movement in France but has expanded in Canada beyond economic concerns, delving into anti-globalism, nationalism, anti-government sentiment and xenophobia — looks like it’s here to stay.

Bernier was there to greet the United We Roll convoy when it arrived in Ottawa last Tuesday. The former federal Conservative cabinet minister, standing beside a man in a yellow vest, told the crowd he was there to promote Canadian unity.

Canadians are increasingly opposed to more immigration — and it remains to be seen how that will play out in October’s federal election, Valpy said.

Anti-immigrant sentiments often depend on the makeup of neighbourhoods, he added, pointing to the suburban area surrounding Toronto, known as the 905 because of its area code, which is “quite strongly” anti-immigrant despite not being a white majority community.

That’s because if communities are homogenous — for instance, predominantly white, brown or Asian — anti-immigrant views can emerge. However, Valpy said, if neighbourhoods are mixed, anti-immigrant views are unlikely.

“Ethnic attachment is declining and has declined quite rapidly,” he explained in an interview, citing data from Ottawa-based pollster EKOS Research Associates. “It’s no longer important to us that all our friends are all white, or we live in a brown community.”

Valpy said unless there is some shift in inequality or people’s sense that progress is lost, ordered populism is here for the long haul.

According to Ivan Pak and the PPC, the principles guiding Canadian values are freedom, personal responsibility, respect and fairness.

Pak was a vocal opponent of the provincial education inclusion program for sexual identity and gender fluidity. He ran unsuccessfully on that platform for school trustee in Richmond in last fall’s municipal election. As president of the PPC Richmond Centre EDA, he isn’t eligible to vote in Monday’s byelection.

The PPC has promised to lower taxes, abolish corporate welfare and stop supply management. On Thursday, Bernier also said he would privatize Canada Post and abolish the CRTC.

The party has formed electoral district associations in all of Canada’s 338 ridings and Bernier has said he will run a full slate of candidates in October’s general election.

Pak said he was no longer keen on the Conservatives because the party has a “lack of leadership ability” (referring to its leader, Andrew Scheer) and “no clean platform.” He also slammed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“When you ask a question in the House of Commons, he never answers it. Is the question period just a joke? It looks like drama,” he said. “Our country is in debt and that debt has to be paid somehow. It will be my children and grandchildren suffering.”

Pak was one of many other Chinese-Canadians greeting Bernier when he visited his Burnaby South byelection candidate — and one of his first picks under the new PPC banner — Laura-Lynn Thompson.

She is a former Christian radio host, anti-abortion activist and a vocal opponent of B.C.’s student education plan on sexual orientation and gender fluidity, with ties to several community churches.

Thompson told the Star last week she’s been able to mobilize the socially conservative Chinese-Canadian vote — and those ties may explain why.

During each byelection debate, Thompson directly appealed to prevalent anxieties in the riding about public safety as she repeatedly brought up the case of Marrisa Shen, a 13-year-old girl killed in a Burnaby South park in July 2017. A Syrian refugee has been charged with murder in her death.

Meanwhile, several PPC supporters at the event on Thursday told the Star they were “sick” of identity politics at play in Canada. Sherolinnah Eang said she became a full-fledged PPC supporter after hearing the messaging about “family values and free speech.”

“This is the first time I’ve come out for something like this, and I’ve lived in Canada for 45 years,” she said.

Burnaby has four distinct town “centres,” a long working-class history and a population density triple that of the region. Its demographics are increasingly young and non-white, according to the 2016 census, and the average age is several years below B.C.’s average, while 64 per cent of its population identifies as a visible minority.

On Thursday, Bernier argued diversity is not Canada’s strength — it’s unity. Asked how that message would land in such an ethnically diverse riding, he responded: “Yes, but they are Canadians first.”

The response prompted cheers from PPC supporters, with several shouting: “I’m an immigrant.”

Thompson, who uttered “Canadians first” at every byelection debate, will face off against federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — vying for his first seat in the House of Commons — Liberal Richard Lee, Conservative Jay Shin and independents Valentine Wu and Terry Grimwood on Monday in Burnaby South.

Byelections will also be held that day in York—Simcoe, Ont. and in Outremont, Que.

David Moscrop, author of the new book Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones, and a post-doctoral fellow in the University of Ottawa’s communications department, told the Star that while feelings of anti-globalism and xenophobia have always existed, they haven’t always had an electoral home.

Moscrop said this is the perfect time for the PPC to do well because it can focus on locking down a smaller segment of the electorate. And there’s enough disaffection, which could express itself as support for the right-wing party.

“This party didn’t even exist 15 minutes ago, so if (Laura-Lynn Thompson) can nab even 10 per cent, Bernier will be crowing for months,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more likely PPC voters than would self-report … because sometimes people won’t admit something to a pollster. But behind the privacy of the voting screen? Many may mark an X for that candidate.”

Source: Star Vancouver | Immigrants who support People’s Party of Canada reject accusations of xenophobia in Burnaby South

Election Commissioner asked to probe Conservative Party ties to Chinese-Canadian conservative groups

Valid question that should be asked of any similar efforts by non-profit organizations in favour of any political party. The Conservatives are particularly strong among Chinese Canadians:

Federal Elections Commissioner Yves Cote has been formally asked to investigate the relationship between the Conservative Party and 10 Chinese-Canadian conservative non-profit organizations for possible breaches of election laws.

The Liberal and NDP parties both sent letters to Mr. Cote’s office on Monday, saying an official probe is required to determine if there is collusion between the Conservatives and wealthy Toronto developer Ted Jiancheng Zhou and the non-profit groups he set up to help the party win support within the Chinese-Canadian community.

Mr. Zhou, a former Liberal donor who has condominium projects in Canada and China, set up Chinese-Canadian conservative groups in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario as well as a national organization called the Federation of Chinese Canadian Conservatives (FCCC). The stated purpose of the FCCC is to assist the “Conservative Party to develop new members; disseminating ideas and policies of the Conservative Party; assisting the Conservative Party to educate and train candidates, party members and to develop volunteers.”

In his letter, NDP MP Nathan Cullen asked Mr. Cote to initiate a “formal investigation” to determine if Mr. Zhou and the Conservatives are co-ordinating their political activities “to circumvent contribution limits” in “potential contravention of election laws.”

Liberal MP Marco Mendicino wrote to Mr. Cote that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Conservative Party of Canada and the FCCC are co-ordinating efforts to use the latter organization as a parallel political entity – akin to a Political Action Committee – which could violate the Canada Elections Act.”

The Elections Act says it is illegal for any outside or non-profit groups to be used as vehicles to evade the spending and contribution limits imposed on political parties. Canadian political financing rules restrict donations to parties or candidates to $1,575 a year and consider provisions of services or goods without charge to be non-monetary contributions subject to the same limits.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s office denied on Monday that Mr. Zhou’s organizations are involved in fundraising or helping his party to elect MPs in next year’s general election.

“The FCCC is playing no role for the Conservative Party of Canada or the Conservative Fund, no caucus members are involved in the FCCC,” communications director Brock Harrison said in an e-mail. “As far as Mr. Zhou is concerned, he does not have a role either in fundraising or organizing on the party’s behalf … He has organized the FCCC as an independent group of Chinese Canadians who want to promote conservative values in their community.”

Mr. Zhou has also denied any wrongdoing and insists he is not acting as an arm of the Conservative Party. He asserts he set up that network to promote small-c conservative causes within the Chinese-Canadian community.

The businessman made a maximum donation of $1,500 in June, 2016, to the Liberal Party and $400 in May, 2017, before switching his allegiance to the Conservatives. He said his organizations do not violate federal election laws and “we have no intention to fund raise for any candidate or the Conservative Party.”

But Canada’s former long-serving chief electoral officer told The Globe and Mail that an Elections Commission investigation is warranted into whether there was an attempt to skirt the contribution limits under the Canada Elections Act.

“It raises the questions about collusion and these are matters that should be looked at frankly in order to satisfy Canadians that the financial provisions of our status – which makes Canada a leader in this field – are being respected,” said Jean-Pierre Kingsley, who served as chief electoral officer from 1990-2007.

For example, Mr. Kingsley said, it would be collusion if non-profit or third-party organizations provided a list of volunteers to a political party or provided any other form of non-monetary benefit.

An official for the Commissioner of Canada Elections, which conducts investigations into electoral matters, says the agency can’t discuss a probe or confirm whether a particular incident is being investigated. However, Mr. Kingsley said a formal request from either MPs or the public usually triggers an investigation by the commissioner’s office.

The Liberals and the NDP also want Mr. Cote to investigate a Nov. 9 rally and dinner in Richmond Hill, Ont., that featured Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and at least 10 other MPs and senators for the inauguration of Mr. Zhou’s FCCC. Tickets were priced at $70, or $100 for VIPs, an amount that would have collected between $45,500 and $65,000, depending on the mix of ticket sales. Food and rental space cost $35,750.

A video of the rally showed former Conservative MP Chungsen Leung, who is on the FCCC advisory board, urging the crowd to “volunteer or to donate to the Conservative Party,” and Ontario PC MPP Aris Babikian said: “Without your support, manpower and financial [help] we would not be able to do it. So let’s work together to bring Andrew Scheer as the next Prime Minister of Canada.”

Mr. Zhou said there was no money left over from the event. “We raised barely enough to pay for the event itself. All the money raised are used for the event expenses,” he said in an e-mail. Expenses incurred could still qualify as a non-monetary political contribution, according to Elections Canada.

Source:     Election Commissioner asked to probe Conservative Party ties to Chinese-Canadian conservative groups Robert Fife and Steven Chase November 19, 2018     

A red flag for Canada after the Putinization of Xi’s dictatorship: Charles Burton

Analysis of possible or likely impact on Chinese Canadians of interest:

….Any naive hopes for a peaceful evolution to democracy are shattered against the reality that China is now a one-man dictatorship yearning to restore the archaic political norms of China’s imperial past: subjects instead of citizens, the destiny of the country instead of individual or minority and collective entitlement to protection of their rights.

Moreover, another of the constitutional revisions adds “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as the party’s ideological guide. In other words, whatever Mr. Xi says or does has the authority of supreme law in China.

The problem for Canada is that Mr. Xi has a fervent commitment to a meta-ideology that threatens the current, fraying liberal world order. His “Chinese dream of national restoration” demands that Canada and all Western countries become subsidiary participants in the Chinese-dominated “community of the common destiny of humankind,” linked by the massive “One Belt One Road” global infrastructure program. Under a previous empire, all roads led to Rome. Under Mr. Xi, all high-speed rail lines under heaven, shipping routes (including those via the Canadian Arctic) and air transport will pass through Beijing.

China is already aggressively rallying support from pro-mainland ethnic Chinese in Canada, as well China-friendly business lobbyists and politicians, through its United Front Work Department initiatives in Canada. If the political consensus in Canada is not to comply, expect China to retaliate. Britain, Australia and New Zealand have already refused to support the One Belt One Road plan; they will certainly incur Beijing’s wrath, starting with economic punishment as the stick, and promise of trade and investment benefits for compliance with China’s demands as the carrot.

The constitutional amendments also include new language about “the great revival of the Chinese race.” The threat to Chinese Canadians is that there is a much enhanced blood-and-belonging aspect to Mr. Xi’s constitutionally endorsed rhetoric. This overarching vision sees all ethnic Chinese – regardless of citizenship or number of generations abroad, even including children adopted from China – as obligated to respond to Chinese embassy pressures to facilitate China’s rise, through political support for Beijing and even treasonous espionage. Canadians with family in China are already feeling pressure to demonstrate their loyalty in this way. Canada must be doing much more to protect our citizens of ethnic Chinese origin from foreign interference.

Under Xi Jinping’s now unchallengeable dictatorship, the world is becoming more and more Chinese. We should ensure this does not mean that Canada has to become less and less Canadian.

via A red flag for Canada after the Putinization of Xi’s dictatorship – The Globe and Mail

Anti-immigration groups at protest demand apology from Trudeau | Ottawa Citizen

It would be interesting to know more about the background of the Asian Canadians at the protest as, at first blush, these appear to be curious bedfellows (the website listed below is largely unpopulated):

Hundreds of Asian-Canadian protesters, supported by several white, far-right, anti-immigrant groups stormed Parliament Hill on Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from the prime minister.

According to plans for the protest on, members of the Asian-Canadian community feel victimized by a Toronto girl’s false claim in January that an Asian man cut off her hijab and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apparent rush to view the fictitious incident as a hate crime.

Anti-Muslim and anti racist protestors voiced their views on Sunday on Parliament Hill. Anti-Muslim protestors joined with a group of Chinese-Canadians who were upset about the controversial hijab news story in Toronto. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia ASHLEY FRASER/ POSTMEDIA

“As the real victim of the hijab hoax, our Asian community was completely ignored by PM Trudeau,” reads a statement on the website.

A man who identified himself as “Yuanyuan” said, “There are some out-of-town conservative Chinese racists and they are collaborating basically with some white nationalist groups here in Canada. As a Chinese Canadian, I’m pretty ashamed about that. That’s why I’m here.”

The large Asian group, with members coming from Toronto and Vancouver to join members of the Ottawa Chinese-Canadian community, chartered buses for the event.

“We want to oppose them,” Yuanyuan said. “We don’t want them on our Hill saying they get to represent Canadian values. We know that their rhetoric is basically trying to normalize violence against minorities and marginalized folk. It’s not really a discussion about whether or not multiculturalism is good or not. We know that they stand for genocide.”

About 100 anti-racist protesters — while denouncing white supremacy and chanting about how welcome Muslims are — also repeatedly screamed “f-ck the police.”

Providing security for the Asian protesters were several anti-immigration, ultranationalist groups such as Quebec’s La Meute — or Wolf Pack — and the Northern Guard. Several Proud Boys — a far-right men’s group — were also in attendance.

La Meute’s Stéphane Roch said his members — of which there are 42,000 in Quebec — were in Ottawa to support the Chinese community.

Roch called them “real Canadians” who have been in the country for hundreds of years. “The Chinese community are a very good community. Trudeau don’t listen to them.”

“The government has to work for the citizens, not for themselves,” Roch said. “The power has to go to the citizens. They have to listen to us.”

An organizer with the Chinese-Canadian community who asked a reporter to “just call me Monica” said the event was behind schedule and chose not to speak to a reporter from this newspaper.

Several Chinese-Canadian protesters were there with their children, who held signs condemning the “hijab hoax” and “fake news.” The signs urged the government not to “stir up ethnic disputes.” Multiple people approached by a reporter indicated they did not speak English.

But speakers urged respect for “human rights” and asked that all Canadians be treated equally.

Among the sea of protesters were several placards taking aim at Trudeau, not Muslims.

Evan Balgord, a journalist and researcher who is following the rise of the new far-right movement in Canada, said that what was branded as anti-Muslim is being re-purposed as anti-Trudeau rhetoric.

“They always were anti-Trudeau, anti-Liberal government, anti-multiculturalism, anti-M-103 (a motion to condemn Islamophobia in the country) but the anti-Trudeau rhetoric is coming more and more to the front.”

Police escorted members of both groups away from the demonstration and some were banned from the Hill.

RCMP officers made a handful of arrests during the demonstration, but several of those people were released. A large group of Ottawa police escorted both groups on and off the Hill.

via Anti-immigration groups at protest demand apology from Trudeau | Ottawa Citizen

A Chinese-Canadian to his parents: ‘Privately, I yearned for your love’

Powerful personal story:

….We fought often. If I tripped on my laces, I was clumsy. If I scored below an A, I was stupid. If I wanted to hang out with my friends, I was wasting my time. I grew to resent the pressure you put on me, resolving to make your lives as difficult as you were making mine. I ran away from home in 2005 after a particularly bad fight, staying at a different friend’s house every day for a week. I spoke dismissively about you, told you I hated you, and that I couldn’t wait to leave the house. But privately, I yearned for your love and affection. I often fantasized about having the family I saw in the movies—the ones where everyone would talk like best friends and hug each other hello and goodbye.

I grudgingly continued down the path you laid out for me—getting into a prestigious business school and landing a stable nine-to-five job—until I couldn’t anymore. My job after graduation was at a top accounting firm, and it could not have been a worse fit for me. My superiors eventually caught on – in 2012, barely eight months into the job, I was laid off.

I was so embarrassed as I cleaned out my things in front of the entire office, but worse to me was the shame of having to tell you what happened. I considered throwing myself off my balcony to avoid facing you. Instead I made the decision to forge a path I could be proud of. I promised myself I would face you when I knew what that path would be.

That month, through a well-timed Craigslist ad, I found my way onto the set of a Guillermo del Toro movie as a minimum-wage extra and instantly fell in love with acting and filmmaking. I checked Craigslist every morning afterwards, applying for anything and everything I could. A few months later I booked my first national commercial and, unable to keep my new life from you any more, I finally came out to you as an actor. Five years later, serendipitous as it may seem, I am now playing myself on TV: a troubled kid, burdened by his relationship to his parents, trying to find his place in the world.

Today, although our relationship is the best it’s ever been, we still rarely talk about the past. I often catch myself replaying some of our worst confrontations in my head; it’s the unfortunate byproduct of a life spent mostly in conflict with you. But something is changing in me too, and I’m finding myself looking at the events of my childhood not through my lens, but through yours.

Liu, flanked by his parents, at his graduation from Western University.

In hindsight, I know that you were doing the best you could. Money was always tight, and so you worked hard and often; the alternative would have meant all of us going hungry. You pushed me as hard as you could so that I would never have to know the struggle of not knowing where my next meal would come from. And when I seemed to be squandering all that you had worked towards, you became frustrated. I would have been too. All I wanted as a child was a safe space, but there was no such thing for you—the threat of poverty was too great for you to risk taking your foot off the gas.

Despite some bumpy roads along the way, I believe that you have succeeded at everything you’ve set out to do. You built a better life for me. You made sure that I never had to worry about things like student debt or spending money. You instilled in me the idea that nothing could be taken for granted in this world, and that if I wanted something badly enough, I had to earn it through work. You made me into everything I am today—hardworking, ambitious, resilient—and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

In November, you attended a screening of Kim’s Convenience at the Glenn Gould Theatre in Toronto. It was the first time you had attended any of my shows or events, and although I tried to downplay it, I was giddy with excitement on the inside. It was a perfect night: I was surrounded by the love of my friends and family, and it was better than anything I saw in those movies with the parents I dreamed of having. It took 28 years, but I finally realized that was the kind of relationship that I want with you every day. No more damaged kid. No more anger.

So it’s with a full heart that I want to tell you that I am grateful for all the gifts and privileges you bestowed upon me. I am so proud of everything you have achieved in your careers, despite overwhelming odds. You are my heroes and my inspirations, and I work hard every day not because it’s what you expect of me, but because it’s what you taught me to expect of myself.

via A Chinese-Canadian to his parents: ‘Privately, I yearned for your love’ –

Chinese-Canadian veterans fought in secret WWII unit and helped changed laws

Interesting part of our history and how their military contribution forced Canada to reconsider its restrictive laws (e.g., voting):

It wasn’t until two years after the war, in 1947, that Canada allowed Chinese-Canadians to vote and repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which had banned almost all immigration from China since 1923. Chinese immigrants had also been singled out to pay a head tax.

“I think it was after we got our citizenship and our right to vote that they realized we did our duty,” Lee says of the general population in Vancouver, where the return of Caucasian soldiers was widely celebrated while minorities who’d also risked their lives in war were mostly ignored.

Henry Yu, a professor in the history department at the University of British Columbia, says the federal government did not want Chinese-Canadians fighting in the war because of fears they’d demand the vote.

“They’d seen it already because several hundred Chinese and Japanese had fought for Canada in World War I and when those veterans returned they asked for the vote. So they knew from experience in World War I that this was going to be a problem,” Yu says. “They wanted to maintain white supremacy.”

Chinese-Canadians were recruited into Force 136 with the belief they’d blend in behind enemy lines, he says.

Catherine Clement, curator of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver’s Chinatown, says the little-known story of Force 136 has been mostly forgotten and there are few records of the clandestine group of spies that was part of Britain’s Special Executive Operations.

“They created this double victory,” she says of Lee and the Chinese-Canadian veterans. “They helped the Allies win the war and they also helped to win the rights for all Chinese living in Canada.”

via Chinese-Canadian veterans fought in secret WWII unit and helped changed laws | National Post

Chu Lai fought against anti-Chinese discrimination and won

One of the early Chinese Canadian pioneers in the struggle against discrimination and racism:

After he died while asleep at home at age 59, the Chinese community in Victoria turned out in huge numbers to say goodbye to one of the country’s pioneers. Chu Lai is not much remembered today, but in his day in the late 19th and early 20th century, he was known for fighting against racism toward Chinese immigrants at a time when it wasn’t popular. He was one of the wealthiest Chinese merchants in B.C., with a net worth estimated at $500,000.

On Wednesday, June 6, 1906, the Victoria Times Colonist reported about preparations for his public funeral.

The story said ceremonies included building a temporary altar for a Taoist priest to perform last rites in front of where Lai died. Everything was arranged by the Chinese Empire Reform Association, a political party started by the Chinese reformer and exile Kang Youwei in Victoria in 1899 to establish a constitutional monarchy in China. Chu was vice-president of the Victoria chapter when he died.

“Professional mourners who will be clad in sackcloth have been engaged to weep as they walk in a funeral procession,” the story said. “Every carriage in the city has been engaged, as also the services of a local brass band.”

Chu came Canada in the 1860s. A member of the Hakka minority in Guangdong in southern China, he made his fortune trading during the Cariboo Gold Rush. By 1876, he was successful enough to open the Wing Chong Company in Victoria.

In 1885, Chu was a participant in a historic court case. A year before, the provincial legislature had passed the Chinese Regulation Act which put an annual tax of $10 on all Chinese residents over the age of 14.

Chu and another Chinese immigrant were charged and convicted of failing to pay the tax. Chu posted a bond of $250 and challenged the law in B.C. Supreme Court, according to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

In the precedent-setting case, the court ruled that the act was “ultra vires” — beyond the power of the provincial legislature.

Source: Chu Lai fought against anti-Chinese discrimination and won | Vancouver Sun