Pro-establishment figure calls for curbs on Hongkongers obtaining dual citizenship

Further crackdown if reflects Beijing’s view and implemented:

Hong Kong’s former security chief has called on Beijing to effectively forbid obtaining dual nationality by revoking the right to live and vote in the city for any resident who acquired foreign citizenship after a “specified cut-off date”.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee’s proposal came as the city government hit back at the foreign ministers of the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia, who had jointly voiced serious concerns over last week’s mass arrest of 55 opposition politicians and activists in Hong Kong under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Even before the arrests, Hong Kong was already bracing for a surge of emigration after London created a new route to citizenship for locals eligible for British National (Overseas) status. The new visa scheme was envisioned as a lifeboat for Hongkongers in the wake of the imposition of the security law, which Britain has deemed a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Describing Britain’s offer as “a slap in the face of Chinese authorities”, Ip said it might be time for Beijing to end its special treatment of Hongkongers and enforce its own nationality law in the city.

“This could be done after a specified cut-off date. Thereafter, Hong Kong Chinese who acquire a foreign nationality of their own free will, will be deemed to have lost Chinese nationality, in strict accordance with Article 9 of the Chinese Nationality Law,” Ip, a government adviser on the Executive Council, the city leader’s de facto cabinet, wrote in an opinion piece in the Post on Sunday.

“If that happens, Hong Kong Chinese who acquire a foreign nationality by emigration or other means voluntarily would automatically lose their right to hold concurrently a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport. They could also lose the right of abode in Hong Kong and the attendant right to vote in Hong Kong elections.”

Source: Pro-establishment figure calls for curbs on Hongkongers obtaining dual citizenship

Will Canada’s immigration scheme for Hong Kong drain young talent from city?

Likely yes. Economic class immigration is not altruistic:

Canada’s latest immigration scheme for Hong Kong may spark an exodus of talent from the city as heightened local political tensions push educated young people to seek opportunities elsewhere, according to experts.

The forecast on Friday referred to new rules unveiled by Canada a day before to make it easier for Hong Kong’s youth to study and work there, in response to the sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing on the city.

“[The] announcement is set against the backdrop of a number of developments which have been gravely concerning to Canada,” the country’s immigration minister Marco Mendicino said on Thursday, citing the move by Beijing to disqualify four elected legislators in Hong Kong.

Under the new pathway to permanent residency for Hong Kong youth, any resident of the city who has graduated from a recognised university in the past five years can apply to work for up to three years in Canada, and will be offered a way for easier transition to permanent residency.

Canada also plans to accelerate the process for the spouses, partners and children of young Hongkongers to emigrate to the country.

Violations of Hong Kong’s national security law, or of any laws that Canada does not itself have on its books, will be disregarded when the country evaluates requests for asylum, permanent residency or other permits, according to Mendicino.

Source: Will Canada’s immigration scheme for Hong Kong drain young talent from city?

Ottawa announces new Hong Kong immigration options as committee warns Uighurs face ‘genocide’

A reminder that Canadian immigration policy has a large element of self-interest given the priority given to younger, highly-educated potential immigrants rather than political refugees (which it may prefer to be discrete about given likely Chinese government thuggish reactions):

The federal government today announced long-awaited plans to help more people living in Hong Kong come to Canada as the Chinese government cracks down on the pro-democracy movement in the territory.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Canada is introducing a new measure targeting students and young people in Hong Kong: a work permit designed to speed up the process toward permanent residency.

“This announcement also supports the commitments made by the Government of Canada to maintain the many connections between Canada and Hong Kong in response to the Chinese government’s imposition and implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020,” his department said in a statement.

There are about 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, the department said, adding that the new Chinese national security law criminalizes “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces,” using very broad definitions that undermine rights and freedoms.

Hong Kong was supposed to operate under a “one-country, two-systems” framework after Britain handed its former colony over to Beijing in 1997 under an international agreement. But human rights and pro-democracy advocates say Beijing’s new national security law is undermining freedom in Hong Kong.

Mendicino said the new immigration stream announced today was crafted in response to the Chinese crackdown on some Hong Kongers.

“We find ourselves at a challenging moment. Canada remains deeply concerned about China’s passage of the new national security law. We have unequivocally stated that this legislation and the unilateral powers within it are in direct conflict with China’s international obligations,” Mendicino said.

By targeting young Hong Kongers with post-secondary degrees from Canadian and foreign universities, Mendicino said Canada hopes to bring in “the best and the brightest” individuals fleeing repression.

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Canada was “deeply disappointed” by China’s latest decision to remove four elected lawmakers from office in Hong Kong.

“This decision further narrows Hong Kong’s autonomy and the space for freedom of expression and public participation in governance in Hong Kong,” the minister said in a media statement. “This action clearly demonstrates a concerning disregard for Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong under the ‘one-country, two-systems’ framework.”

Earlier today, members of a House of Commons committee looking into the plight of ethnic Muslim Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province cited their recent conclusion that the Chinese Communist Party is guilty of perpetrating a genocide against the ethnic minority.

The all-party Commons subcommittee on human rights heard harrowing testimony from survivors of China’s imprisonment of Uighur Muslims. They shared accounts of mass incarceration, rape, forced sterilization of women and mass surveillance.

Critics say China has detained as many as one million Uighurs and members of other Muslim groups in what amount to mass prisons, where they are subjected to “re-education.”

The Chinese government has denied any abuse of human rights in the region and insists that reports claiming that are false.

“The subcommittee is persuaded that the actions of the Chinese Communist Party constitute genocide, as laid out in the Genocide Convention,” said Liberal MP Peter Fonseca, the committee chair. “In particular, the subcommittee would like to thank the Uighur witnesses that provided evidence at great risk to themselves and their families living in Xinjiang.”

New Democrat MP Heather McPherson said the most compelling testimony she heard came from women who “survived the concentration camps and shared their stories of abuse and violence.”

“It has been shown again and again that to wipe out a people, to perpetrate a genocide, one must destroy the women. Acts designed to prevent births constitute genocide,” she said.

Thursday’s developments are sure to anger China, which has warned the Trudeau government not to intervene in Hong Kong and to stop levelling criticism related to the Uighurs.

Canada’s relations with China are at an all-time low because the People’s Republic has imprisoned two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — an action the Trudeau government has branded as one of coercive or “hostage” diplomacy.

Kovrig and Spavor were rounded up by Chinese authorities in December 2018, nine days after Canada arrested Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant.

The subcommittee made it clear it was pointing the finger at the Chinese Communist Party specifically.

“This is not about a people. This is not about a country,” said Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi. “What we want are these practices to stop and then we will have nothing to say on the matter of the Uighur people.”

The subcommittee’s report will make its way up to the full Commons committee on foreign affairs and international development before it goes to the government for a response.

The Trudeau government has said repeatedly it won’t back down on public criticism of China’s human rights record.

Source: Ottawa announces new Hong Kong immigration options as committee warns Uighurs face ‘genocide’

Canada urged to offer safe haven to Hongkongers


Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole is calling on the Canadian government to urgently adopt special measures that provide a safe haven for Hong Kong residents facing persecution under a harsh national security law imposed by China on the former British colony.

Mr. O’Toole said Canada must also be prepared to support the 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong. This would include evacuation assistance if it becomes necessary for Canadian citizens to flee the Asian financial hub as Chinese security forces continue their crackdown on civil rights.

Special immigration and refugee measures are also needed to provide a “lifeboat” for non-Canadian Hongkongers who are being harassed by Chinese security forces and Hong Kong police, he said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

“We have to have special provisions,” Mr. O’Toole said. “There is a need for us to provide a refugee route for pro-democracy activists who are now living in a police state and cannot access the process of satisfying the requirements, when dealing with Canadian consular services, to use Express Entry or any other way they can visit Canada.”

It’s been more than three months since Beijing enacted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security, which criminalizes opposition and dissent in Hong Kong. Western countries including Canada have accused the Chinese government of breaking a treaty with Britain that pledged to leave human and civil rights in Hong Kong untouched for 50 years after the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.

This new law spells trouble for the multitude of Hongkongers who have opposed Beijing’s efforts to erode rights in the Asian city, including the more than 7,000 charged in connection with past protests or those under surveillance by Hong Kong police.

Canada’s arm’s-length Immigration and Refugee Board recently granted asylum to two Hong Kong activists, as The Globe first reported, but their case was unusual in that they came to Canada in late 2019, and neither face charges back home for taking part in pro-democracy protests. More than 45 other activists who arrived before the coronavirus pandemic have also applied to be accepted as refugees.

Mr. O’Toole’s call for immediate action to help Hongkongers comes days after the House of Commons committee on citizenship and immigration voted unanimously to investigate measures to provide a haven for them.

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan, who put forward the motion, said the Trudeau government is doing nothing, and Hongkongers are growing desperate.

“It’s been all talk and no action,” she said. “The Liberals always find the right words to say but they never follow up with action.”

There are several hundred thousand Canadians of Hong Kong origin living in Canada and 300,000 Canadian citizens living there now.

Mr. O’Toole said action is needed especially after China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, recently warned Ottawa against granting asylum to pro-democracy dissidents from Hong Kong. Mr. Cong said last week that such action could jeopardize the “health and safety” of 300,000 Canadians living there.

“I have actually met a few people in Canada who cannot return to Hong Kong because they fear for their lives, and knowing what we know about the situation there, I think we have to offer them safe haven,” Mr. O’Toole said.

One problem facing Hongkongers trying to flee now is pandemic travel restrictions that prevent them from boarding an aircraft bound for Canada. Before COVID-19, they could travel to Canada as a tourist and ask for asylum upon arrival – but not any more. They are fearful of declaring their intention to seek asylum while in Hong Kong, where they could be monitored, or are being watched by police, or already face charges for pro-democracy demonstrations.

Another option is for them to apply as economic immigrants through Ottawa’s Express Entry program, but that is a difficult route. Express Entry is for high-talent immigrants and it also requires a certificate from Hong Kong’s police, who are under the thumb of Beijing’s Ministry of Security.

The NDP’s Ms. Kwan hopes Ottawa could set up a system similar to that established by successive governments to help persecuted gay Iranians and Chechens reach Canada. Such a process would allow designate non-governmental organizations to play a role in helping arrange documents for Hongkongers’ passage out of the Asian city, perhaps via a third country.

She also recommends that Ottawa loosen family reunification rules so that a greater number of family relations in Canada could easily sponsor arrivals from Hong Kong. It’s harder for Canadians to sponsor relatives to immigrate to Canada if they are not a spouse, partner or children.

Canadian supporters of Hong Kong dissidents say the problem with using programs such as Express Entry is that applicants from Hong Kong do not generate sufficient points to merit acceptance.

Robert Falconer, a research associate at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy and an external adviser to Alliance Canada Hong Kong, said there could be a solution. If Canada is concerned about China seeing it grant asylum to many dissidents from Hong Kong, and would prefer to bring them in as economic migrants, he said, perhaps there could be a special code that applicants can add to their Express Entry applications. The code would artificially raise the point total so they can be accepted.

Mr. Falconer said groups such as Alliance Canada Hong Kong could be empowered to distribute these codes to dissidents in Hong Kong.

“For all appearance, they would come in as economic-stream immigrants,” he said.


Canada begins accepting Hong Kong pro-democracy activists as refugees

Welcome and likely the start of a future wave:

Canada has begun accepting Hong Kong pro-democracy activists as refugees, a sign that this country is opening its doors to those fleeing Beijing’s crackdown on civil rights in the former British colony.

In a Sept. 1 letter, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada notified a married couple from Hong Kong, both in their early 30s, that the refugee protection division has determined they are “Convention refugees” and their claims for asylum have been accepted.

Under Canadian law, a “Convention refugee” refers to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and is defined as someone who cannot return to their home “due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion” or other factors.

The Globe And Mail spoke to the Hong Kong couple, who originally arrived in Canada last December, but is withholding reporting certain details of their cases because they fear retribution against themselves or families back in Hong Kong by agents of the Chinese Communist Party. The Globe is also granting them confidentiality for the same reason.

The Hong Kong man, 33, who has been accepted as a refugee, said he was a very active protester in the pro-democracy movement in the Asian city, including with a well-known political party that put pressure on the local government to implement universal suffrage. He and his wife, 30, also took to street protests in 2019 amid mass demonstrations that followed efforts by Hong Kong’s leadership to enact legislation that would allow extradition to mainland China.

The man said he was on the front lines of demonstrations in 2019 and ran a warehouse to produce defensive equipment for protesters. He said he was at one point detained by Chinese authorities – they were not wearing uniforms – and Hong Kong police followed him and searched his home, but he was never charged.

He said near the end of his time in Hong Kong, fearful for his safety, he ended up hiding in a cave under a building.

Now, with asylum in Canada, he said: “It feels now like I no longer need to hide, and I am finally somewhere I can live safely.”

He said he is very thankful for Canada’s decision, a country he said shares common values with Hong Kongers.

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who is not representing them, said he believes these two Hong Kongers are among the first pro-democracy activists to be granted asylum. He said he believes a few others may have already obtained refugee status as well.

“These are the first of a small number,” Mr. Kurland, based in Vancouver, said. “This is like the starter’s gun.”

He said accepting refugees from Hong Kong, however, is an indictment of the Asian city’s justice system, which still retains the legacy of institutional frameworks from Britain, despite Hong Kong’s 1997 handover to China under a one-country, two-systems formula.

“By implication, the Canadian refugee determination system has put the Hong Kong judicial system into disrepute. The person has no internal flight alternative, and cannot reasonably rely upon Hong Kong’s judicial structure for protection.”

The Globe reported earlier this year that close to 50 Hong Kongers – many of whom took part in the massive demonstrations that began last year – have already applied for asylum in Canada, citing harassment and brutality at the hands of police in Hong Kong and fear of unjust prosecution.

Conservative foreign-affairs critic Michael Chong said Canada must do more than just “accept a handful” of asylum seekers from Hong Kong, where a harsh new security law was imposed by Beijing this summer – one that criminalizes dissent and opposition.

“Processing a handful of asylum claims from those fleeing Hong Kong is not commensurate to the crisis that is unfolding there,” he said. “Canada needs to do more to provide a path for those seeking asylum from the imposition of China’s draconian new national security law.”

Mr. Chong said Canada should work with allies, such as Britain, to admit many more Hong Kongers fleeing. There is no reason why Canada couldn’t follow the British lead by offering a path to citizenship to Hong Kong residents, he said.

Hong Kongers coming to Canada would enrich the country because “they are highly educated” and would provide immense economic benefit, he added.

Avvy Go of Toronto’s Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic said it’s urgent to act now to help the people of Hong Kong.

“The situation is getting worse. More and more people have been arrested. It is clear the Hong Kong government is not going back down. … We need [to] act now before they arrest more people and their passports are seized,” she said.

Mr. Kurland said he still expects a surge of immigration from Hong Kong and more refugee claims. Canada has not yet unveiled special measures to facilitate migration from Hong Kong. He said Ottawa appears to be keeping this in abeyance until “things turn urgent and you see a wave of claimants from Hong Kong.”

Former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler, an international champion of human rights, urged the Trudeau government to grant asylum to any Hong Kong resident seeking to escape China’s draconian national security law.

“I wouldn’t be limiting it to two. This has been such a serious assault on democracy for the national security legislation that impacts on everyone … and puts anyone in Canada who supports them at risk so we need to have a response that says we are here to protect those who we are able to protect and to facilitate their coming to Canada,” he said.

The Hong Kong couple accepted as refugees received the support of a Canadian group called New Hong Kong Cultural Club.


Canada failing to address rising complaints about foreign intimidation of rights activists, Amnesty International says

Significant issue and more concrete action warranted:

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Ottawa will not tolerate the intimidation of human rights activists in this country by foreign governments after a democracy activist told a parliamentary committee she and her family have faced threats from Beijing over the past year.

But Amnesty International said Wednesday that Canada’s response to rising complaints about bullying by pro-China forces has been hapless, muddled and ineffective.

Parliamentary hearings on Canada-China relations this week in Ottawa included testimony from Canadians of Hong Kong origin, who described threats they’ve received on Canadian soil during the course of their advocacy for democratic rights in the former British colony.

Cherie Wong, executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong, told the Commons committee on Canada-China relations that she has been the target of “death and rape threats,” as well as talk of harming her family, over the past 12 months. At rallies – even on Parliament Hill – pro-Beijing supporters have harassed and threatened those demonstrating in support of Hong Kong. Afterward, the personal information of pro-Hong Kong demonstrators – cellphone numbers, e-mail addresses, photos, class schedules – was published online.

Her experience echoes a May report by Amnesty International Canada and other groups warning that Chinese government officials and supporters of the Communist Party of China are increasingly resorting to “threats, bullying and harassment” to intimidate and silence activists in Canada, including those raising concerns about democracy and civil rights in Hong Kong, and Beijing’s mistreatment of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Falun Gong practitioners.

This intimidation includes threats of sexual violence and other physical violence against targets in Canada, as well as their family members in Hong Kong and China.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Leona Alleslev asked Mr. Champagne on Wednesday in the House of Commons about testimony such as Ms. Wong’s, and whether the government would introduce legislation to fight foreign interference.

“Witnesses at the Canada-China committee stated the People’s Republic of China is actively threatening Canadians on Canadian soil who seek to expose China’s authoritarian agenda. These individuals have been subjected to everything from physical threats, commercial blacklisting and state-backed cyberhacking with no protection from Canada. When will this government introduce legislation to combat foreign influence and protect basic human rights in Canada from aggressive actions of the Chinese Communist Party?” Ms. Alleslev asked.

Mr. Champagne told the Commons that Canada does not allow such intimidation and said Ottawa has been swift to address it.

“Let me be very clear, the safety and protection of Canadians is paramount to this government. We will never allow any form of foreign interference in Canada by state or non-state actors,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said.

He said Canada has acted whenever complaints have arisen. “Every time there have been allegations … we have taken action with the Minister of Public Safety,” he said, and advised Canadians to contact the police if they are being threatened.

“We invite any Canadians who might be subject to any form of such actions that have been described to contact law enforcement authorities and we will always defend the freedom and liberty of Canadians in Canada from foreign interference.”

But Alex Neve, secretary-general at Amnesty International Canada, said the response from Canadian authorities to such complaints has been unco-ordinated and disappointing. He said that in 2017 and again in May this year, Amnesty and other groups in the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China published reports on the intimidation and threats, as well as recommendations to address it – but these have received little response.

He said targets of harassment end up discouraged. “Individuals have often found they turn to one agency only to be told to go to another, and yet another, and at the end of the day told, ‘Well, we share the concern, but there’s not really anything that can be done here because it’s not a clear criminal offence,’ or, ‘You don’t have enough evidence.’ ”

The Amnesty-led coalition has recommended establishing a point person and hotline to handle complaints, talking to China about the harassment, and the consideration of a law to counter foreign interference as other countries such as Australia have enacted.

Mr. Neve said the response from the Canadian government, from security agencies and from police “lacks coherence and at the end of the day therefore is entirely ineffective.”

“Individuals experiencing these instances of interference and of threats, including threats of sexual and other physical violence and threats against family members in Hong Kong or in China, are largely left without effective recourse, often unsure where to turn and what to expect,” he said in recommendations provided to the Canada-China committee this week.

“It may be a considerable challenge to counter China’s influence on the world stage, it may be difficult to exert pressure for human rights reform on the ground in China, but there is no excuse for a failure to take robust and decisive steps to counter human rights abuses that may be linked to or backed by Beijing – connected to what is happening in Hong Kong, but taking place here in Canada.”

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Canada failing to address rising complaints about foreign intimidation of rights activists, Amnesty International says

Major Chinese-language newspaper rejects group’s ad criticizing Hong Kong security law

Of note (worrisome):

Canada’s largest-circulation Chinese-language newspaper recently rejected a full-page ad criticizing the new Hong Kong national security law and one of the law’s Canadian supporters, raising new concerns about a pro-Beijing slant in Chinese-Canadian media.

A loose collection of 40 or so pro-democracy activists had been willing to spend $3,000 to purchase the spot in Sing Tao , a newspaper half-owned by Torstar, the Toronto Star’s parent company, said two of the activists.

As well as being condemned by Western governments and human-rights organizations, the security law imposed by China on Hong Kong last month has alarmed many Canadians with ties to the city.

But the activists said the paper refused to run the statement, partly because it criticized David Choi, chair of the National Congress of Chinese Canadians and a booster of the controversial legislation.

The Congress has a long history of pro-China advocacy.

The activist group re-submitted the ad without mentioning Choi by name. A saleswoman said it had been rejected again because “our senior management do not feel comfortable posting it,” said one member of the group.

“They’re not allowing us to practice our freedom of speech,” complained another of the activists, who asked to be identified only by his surname, Wong, citing the security law’s apparently global reach. “This is scandalous.”

After submitting the advertisement to Sing Tao July 17 and having it rejected first on July 19, then again on July 21, the B.C. group took it to rival Ming Pao . That newspaper agreed to run the version of the statement that did not mention Choi or the NCCC, said Wong.

The incident adds to longstanding complaints that many of Canada’s Chinese-language media outlets eschew negative content about China’s Communist Party-led regime.

But a Sing Tao manager dismissed any suggestion his organization was trying to censor China critics.

The newspaper reviews all ad submissions for “libelous contents, good taste and other legal issues,” said Andrew Lai, general manager of Sing Tao Daily .

“After carefully reviewing the said advertisement (under) the anonymous name of ‘a group of Canadian Hong Kongers,’ we declined the said advertisement,” he said.

The paper has not shied from reporting on both sides of the Hong Kong conflict, argued Lai. He cited a recent story on a protest by Canadians of Hong Kong background in Vancouver against Choi’s support for the security law and his claim that he speaks for most Chinese Canadians.

Lai also pointed to three letters it printed on one day in June that criticized the initiative.

“Sing Tao Daily’s basic aim as a newspaper serving the Canadian Chinese community is to engage in the full and frank dissemination of news and opinion.”

Advocates for human rights in China do not agree.

Both Sing Tao and Ming Pao have for the last ten years refused to run ads from the Toronto association for democracy in China to commemorate the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre, said association spokesman Cheuk Kwan.

“This rejection of an ad critical of Choi and the NCCC is par for the course,” Kwan said. “Another case of Chinese (government) influence in our civic society and politics. In this case, media self-censorship by the Chinese-language media.”

He charges that the Chinese embassy and consulates exert influence on ethnic media here either directly, through owners tied to Beijing, or via the leverage of advertising by China-friendly businesses.

In a high-profile 2009 episode, a senior Sing Tao editor altered a Toronto Stararticle on Tibet to remove criticism of China before publishing it in his own paper. The editor was eventually fired.

The National Congress itself has often appeared in line with Beijing. Last year, a congress leader echoed Beijing’s calls for the federal government to drop extradition proceedings against Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO. The NCCC has backed installing the Chinese government’s controversial Confucius Institute at the Toronto public school board and allowing state-run CCTV onto Canadian cable. In 2003, the Chinese ambassador offered the congress “our highest compliment” for co-hosting an exhibit at Toronto City Hall that promoted China’s narrative on Tibet.

On a visit to Canada in 2007, Chinese diplomatic defector Chen Yonglin charged that the NCCC was in effect a front for the People’s Republic, a charge the group strongly denied.

Choi could not be reached for comment.

Beijing says the national security law is designed to quell violent demonstrations and restore order in Hong Kong. But critics warn it will crush the limited freedoms that set the city apart from mainland China, criminalizing subversion of government power, support for separatism, collusion with foreign forces and using violence in protests.

In Canada, the alleged self-censorship by Chinese-language media seems to have worsened amid China’s Hong Kong crackdown, said Cherie Wong of Alliance Canada Hong Kong.

Wong mentioned a recent, uncritical radio interview in Vancouver with Beijing’s consul general there, in which the diplomat lambasted Chinese-Canadian critics of the security law.

“There were no follow up questions from the journalist, it was very scripted,” said Wong. With the misleading news and this kind of misleading information circulating in ethnic media, our communities are at risk.”

The B.C. activists say they plan to write to Torstar, which owns about 50 per cent of Sing Tao , to complain about the ad rejection.

Source: Major Chinese-language newspaper rejects group’s ad criticizing Hong Kong security law

Timmy Wong: Chinese-Canadian groups that support Hong Kong’s National Security Law do not represent all Chinese-Canadians

Of note:

As Hong Kong-Canadians residing in Metro Vancouver, we are shocked and saddened by local groups supporting Hong Kong’s National Security Law who claim to represent all Chinese- and Hong Kong-Canadians. The National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC), along with the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver, have both publicly supported this law, which was unilaterally imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing on June 30. They ignore the diversity of opinions among the 1.7 million Hong Kong- and Chinese-Canadians, many of whom chose to immigrate to Canada for freedoms and rights that do not exist under the authoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

NCCC chairperson David Choi has made a video statement claiming that the majority of Hong Kong- and Chinese-Canadians support the National Security Law. Furthermore, he condones the atrocities committed by Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam and the brutality of Hong Kong police in the name of “National Security.”

Choi further provoked the sensitive issue of Quebec separatism and terrorism, purposely misreading Canadian history to justify his support of this draconian law. NCCC has not been authorized by Hong Kong- or Chinese-Canadians to represent their view or voice since it has not received any mandate to do so from either of these communities.

What is more worrying is that the Beijing government — not any Hong Kong judicial or policy body — will have the ultimate power over how the law should be interpreted. If the law conflicts with any Hong Kong law, the Beijing law prevails. By supporting the National Security Law as Canadians, NCCC is persuading Canadians to support authoritarian rule in Hong Kong and beyond.

This legislation has effectively ended the “One Country, Two Systems” constitutional principle that guided the CCP’s rule of Hong Kong during the 50-year period of handover from Britain. Overnight, Hong Kong has become “just another Chinese city” under the dictatorial CCP. It has also turned into a police state with the establishment of the National Security Bureau, where protesting is essentially prohibited, social media posts are closely monitored, and any slogans supporting Hong Kong’s freedom are outlawed. Any speech that criticizes the CCP could lead to conviction under the charge of subversion. Even the investigation into the Hong Kong Police Force’s brutality against protesters for freedom could lead to charges against people in education institutes or religious and non-profit organizations who are engaged in the exchange of ideas and information. Also their foreign counterparts could be convicted under “Collusion with External or Foreign Forces” provisions in the new law.

Under the new National Security Law, anyone from any quarter in the world who is critical of China could be arrested and tried in secrecy and extradited from Hong Kong to Communist China without any opportunity to appeal. Crimes of “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion” with foreign forces are punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. The impact is so serious that the Canadian government has issued a travel warning to Canadians that they could be arbitrarily arrested by the Hong Kong government under this draconian law. Yet NCCC still endorses the National Security Law, betraying the core Canadian values of free speech and human rights.

Hong Kongers are looking to the free world for refuge and protection from China’s state-sponsored terrorism, but the members of NCCC ignore their pleas for help. Instead, they endorse the totalitarian policy of CCP for Hong Kong and echo the CCP’s need to “defend National Security.” They do not and must not represent the voices of 1.7 million Canadians.

We, a group of Hong Kong-Canadians, have been protesting and advocating in solidarity with our fellow Hong Kongers in Hong Kong since June 2019. The world has seen the atrocities of how Hong Kong and Beijing governments treat the Hong Kongers and, one by one, countries are making a stand for freedom with Hong Kongers.

Unlike the NCCC, there are many Chinese- and Hong Kong-Canadians who are deeply aware of the privilege they have as settlers, and who are aware of the long history they have had in this nation fighting for political agency. Chinese-Canadians (who include Hong Kong-Canadians) were finally given the vote in 1947 after many of them served the country bravely and proudly in the Second World War. Their right to vote was a sign that Chinese-Canadians were finally accepted as full Canadians and given access to democracy, freedom, equality and human rights.

Unfortunately, the NCCC, the Chinese Benevolent Association, and many Chinese-Canadians appear to have now forgotten the hard-fought battle for their rights and freedoms in Canada. They enjoy the rights and privileges as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and use their free speech to deny others the same freedom by propping up an authoritarian, power-hungry regime.

Many Hong Kongers who first moved to Canada moved here out of their fear of the CCP when the handover from the U.K. to China was first announced in 1984. On June 4, 1989, the Tiananmen Massacre hit the souls of many Hong Kongers and it triggered another wave of migration to Canada.

Many of us Hong Kong-Canadians are forever grateful to Canada for allowing us to settle and prosper in this free land. It is a duty as Canadians to stand on guard for freedom. It means that we will defend freedom of speech for the oppressed through our political agency. Many Hong Kong-Canadians have voiced their concerns over the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong through petitions, letter-writing campaigns, protest, and other forms of advocacy. The Canadian government has taken a clear stand by calling out Beijing’s crackdown as illegal and a violation of human rights, to the extent of suspending the extradition treaty with Hong Kong indefinitely. What NCCC claimed is in fact a direct contradiction to what many Canadians believe.

Source: Timmy Wong: Chinese-Canadian groups that support Hong Kong’s National Security Law do not represent all Chinese-Canadians

Chinese diplomat accuses critics of sowing division among Chinese Canadian community

As if Chinese diplomats are not themselves sowing divisions:

A Chinese diplomat is accusing Canadians who criticize Beijing’s new Hong Kong security law of trying to sow discord among people of Chinese origin in Canada.

Tong Xiaoling, China’s consul-general in Vancouver, told a Chinese-language radio program in Vancouver this week that pro-democracy activists in Canada who criticize the new security law enacted in Hong Kong are trying to foist their views on people who support Beijing’s move. Her interview was broadcast over Monday and Tuesday.

She said a “very few people, in both Hong Kong and local [Canada], have been maliciously denigrating and sabotaging Hong Kong’s national security legislation,” and she accused them of colluding with “anti-China forces” and trying to cause “trouble” overseas.

“Some people were trying to intimidate people who truly care about Hong Kong, stop them from voicing [their opinions] and launch personal attacks on them. [They] also try to create divisions in the ethnically Chinese community and sabotage China-Canada relations,” Ms. Tong said to Vancouver radio station 1320 AM, which bills itself as the “voice of Vancouver’s Chinese community.”

Ms. Tong proceeded to list various members of the Chinese community in Vancouver: those from Hong Kong, from Macau, from mainland China and the self-governing island of Taiwan.

Canadian activists for democracy in Hong Kong say that’s an unusual thing for a foreign government official to be concerned about. It’s not the Chinese government’s business to be actively concerned with the opinion of Canadians of Chinese origin, they say.

The Beijing-drafted national security law punishes what China broadly defines as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Critics of the law fear it will crush the wide-ranging freedoms promised to the territory when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, including the right to protest and an independent legal system. Supporters of the law say it will bring stability after last year’s often-violent anti-government and anti-China unrest.

Vancouver has been home to a number of rallies against the new national security law Beijing imposed on Hong Kong, including demonstrations outside Oakridge Centre and the local Chinese consulate.

Cherie Wong, executive director for Alliance Canada Hong Kong, an umbrella group for Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates in this country, said the Chinese government acts as though it has a proprietary claim on people of Chinese origin in Canada.

“Why would a foreign diplomat care about what the Chinese Canadian community thinks? It’s because the Chinese Communist Party feels a level of ownership over ethnically Chinese individuals,” Ms. Wong said.

“The accusation that we are dividing Chinese people is in fact reinforcing the idea that we are a monolith, which is very much incorrect. It’s part of the same propaganda, erasing the differences in political opinions.”

Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to Beijing, said that in his opinion the Chinese government devotes a lot of resources to try to shape the opinions of ethnically Chinese communities in foreign countries in the hope of influencing public policy. “The message is repeated all the time: Don’t forget the Motherland.”

He said Ms. Tong’s comments reflect a more assertive brand of Chinese foreign policy. “She should be reminded that Canadians are Canadians: We don’t make a distinction between Canadians of Chinese origin and Canadians of British origin.”

Members of the House of Common’s special Canada-China committee, meanwhile, are meeting this week to consider holding hearings on the new Hong Kong security law.

“Conservatives proposed months ago for the Canada-China Committee to reconvene for intensive study of the horrific and deteriorating situation in Hong Kong. A lot of time has been lost in the interim, and it is all the more urgent now for us to hold intensive hearings on the situation in Hong Kong,” Conservative MP Garnett Genuis, a member of the committee, said.

Ms. Tong told 1320 AM that the national security bill was designed to bring calm to Hong Kong. Mass protests began in mid-2019 over proposed legislative changes that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. This civil disobedience later evolved into demands for greater democracy and autonomy.

She blamed foreign governments and even the self-ruled island of Taiwan for encouraging this disobedience.

She also said she understands some overseas Chinese people have expressed concerns over the new law, worrying that it will violate Hong Kong people’s rights and freedoms, but blamed biased media reports and foreign politicians for their concerns.

She said the law will target only a tiny minority of people who sabotage Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and the national security.

“If you do not break such law, and aren’t involved in these activities, why do you need to worry about your safety?”

Source: Chinese diplomat accuses critics of sowing division among Chinese Canadian community

Hongkongers lose taste for overseas property elsewhere amid BN(O) offer

Interesting given possible impact on Canada for those with BNO passports (those without will, of course, continue to have interest in Canada as the implementation of the law continues):
Interest in overseas property in other countries has plunged among Hongkongers looking to emigrate, after the United Kingdom unveiled its path to citizenship for residents eligible for British National (Overseas) passports, immigration consultants said.

Applications for emigration to Canada and Taiwan, which had recorded the most interest following the introduction of the national security law, were the most affected by the UK’s announcement, said Raymond Chong, managing director at StarPro Immigration Consultancy. The company had received “several hundred enquiries per month” following the passage of the law by Beijing, but “some had withheld” their applications to other countries once the BN(O) option was revealed, Chong said.

“After the BN(O) [policy] was revealed, enquiries for properties outside the UK plummeted by more than half. Enquiries about BN(O) passports and the UK have skyrocketed, rising by four to five times,” he said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plan on July 1, paving the way for three million Hong Kong residents who are eligible for BN(O) passports to live and eventually settle in the UK. The BN(O) path is a much cheaper and faster way to emigrate and involves fewer procedures than other immigration programmes, StarPro’s Chong added.

An online survey of 300 Hong Kong residents conducted this month by Midland Immigration Consultancy found that about three in five BN(O) passport holders now had a greater desire to emigrate.

An increase in emigration from Hong Kong is also likely to drive up home prices in the UK, said Jan Hong, senior principal director at Centaline Immigration Consultants. He added that a recent stamp duty relaxation in the UK until the end of March 2021 would also boost the market.

The increase in transactions involving UK property would come at the expense of property deals elsewhere, where prices would see less upwards pressure, said StarPro’s Chong. “Hong Kong funds will shift to the UK,” he said. “But foreign property purchases [by Hongkongers] do not usually account for a large portion of housing transactions in these countries, so the impact will be limited.”

Portugal, a favourite destination among Hong Kong residents looking to invest in property abroad because of its golden visa scheme, has seen fewer enquiries of late. Overseas buyers are believed to have contributed to a surge in housing prices, which, however, fell by about 14 per cent in March because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the country’s National Statistics Institute. Its property market has recovered gradually over the past three months, according to property data company Confidencial Imobiliario.

And a minority of Hong Kong residents – especially those without BN(O) passports – is still expected to choose Portugal, because they are not required to live there and can get passports through the country’s golden visa scheme. These passports will allow them to remain in Hong Kong, while their children can study in primary and secondary schools in the UK for free after getting Irish residency, thanks to a European Union and UK policy.

Elsewhere, interest in property in Cyprus and Greece has sustained despite the UK’s BN(O) policy. The absence of a requirement to live in Cyprus, another former British colony, and the promise of good weather add to its appeal, said Pantelis Leptos, director of The Leptos Group.

Investors qualify for Cypriot citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Programme, on purchase of property worth €2 million. They can sell the property after five years.

Another option is permanent residency, which is available to investors who purchase property worth 300,000 in Cyprus, and 250,000 in Greece. But owners need to keep the property as long as they want to keep their residency.

Source: Hongkongers lose taste for overseas property elsewhere amid BN(O) offer