Canada braces for economic retaliation from China following Meng Wanzhou court ruling

Good overview. Of particular interest to me was the quote below Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization.

As you may recall, Howard Ramos and I organized a successful petition against them hosting the 2020 International Metropolis Conference on the grounds that CCG was an organ of the Chinese government.

The quote proves our point and the willful or not naïveté of the International Steering Committee board members:

Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank closely affiliated with the Chinese government and its efforts to exert foreign influence, called the ruling “a very bad decision.”

It’s “really not good for business. Not good for traditional long friendship ties. Not good for any further improvement.”

The decision will generate “a lot of unhappiness among the Chinese people,” he said. It is “really very unfortunate to see Canada following the U.S. on these issues. Canada should be a little bit more independent.”

Source:    Canada braces for economic retaliation from China following Meng Wanzhou court ruling Ottawa sought to assure China that the court’s decision was a product of Canada’s legal system and out of its hands <img src=”https://www.theglobeandmail.com/resizer/rXfA7texOBbdizY0RX9LtuO6Xvs=/0x33:3000×2033/740×0/filters:quality(80)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/tgam/3M3YKHU4LNKKZL6WGMHUKUL4JI.jpg” alt=””>     

Beijing think tank cancels global conference amid Canadian boycott

The formal notice and related story of the cancelled 2020 International Metropolis migration conference in Beijing. One really has to wonder what the International Metropolis co-chairs and Secretariat were thinking when choosing Beijing to host the conference, beyond the finances:

A global migration policy conference Canada played a key role in establishing has been cancelled after its Beijing host pulled out of the event scheduled for June.

The 2020 International Metropolis Conference was at the centre of a boycott led by Canadian scholars over China’s poor human rights record: the repression of the Muslim Uighur and Tibetan minorities; threats to Hong Kong’s legal and judicial independence; and the ongoing detention of foreign nationals, including Canadian businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig.

In an email to participating researchers and policy-makers last week, Professors Jan Rath of the Netherlands and Paul Spoonley of New Zealand, co-chairs of the event’s steering committee, said they regretted but respected the decision by the Centre for China and Globalization to pull out of the conference. Boycotters had argued that the centre is part of the Chinese apparatus and feared it would be used to legitimize the Communist regime’s policies and practices.

“We can understand that external pressures have complicated the organization of the event,” said the letter. “An International Metropolis Conference in Beijing would have offered an opportunity for members of the Metropolis network to meet and engage with their counterparts in that country and in the region, and vice-versa, in the interest of enhanced mutual understanding of migration developments.”

Andrew Griffith, a former director-general of the Canadian immigration department who led the boycott with others, welcomed the cancellation.

“The regime’s ongoing human rights abuses and cultural genocide efforts regarding minorities like the Uighurs make China an inappropriate host for an open discussion of migration issues, where human rights are central,” Griffith told the Star.

The conference had been organized by the International Metropolis Network, made up of experts from around the world in migration and settlement policies as a platform where state officials, non-government organizations and researchers share ideas and discuss best policies to manage migration and integration.

Canada was instrumental in the establishment of the international network of experts, with one of the organization’s three secretariats at Carleton University. The annual conference attracts as many as 1,000 participants and presenters a year and has been held around the world.

Organizers maintain that Metropolis has always been an “apolitical” network aimed at fostering understanding of migration issues.

“China has emerged as a major economic power in the world, and as a country with a significant role in migration, whether in Asia or globally. For us to have a comprehensive picture of regional and global migration means understanding China’s role in migration, both as a country of origin and, more recently, a country of destination,” the International Metropolis said in its letter to members. “To ignore China in the field of migration today is to have but a partial understanding of global migration phenomena.”

Griffith disagreed, pointing to the recent denial of entry to Hong Kong of Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch, a group critical of the Chinese regime, as an example of interference and repression by Beijing.

“For conferences in Western countries, that is largely true, but certainly not in a country like China, which would have used the conference to legitimize its policies and practices and not allow any open discussion of its repression of the Uighurs and other human rights abuses,” said Griffith

The conference’s steering committee said further details will soon be provided on an “alternative” International Metropolis event to replace the cancelled Beijing conference.

International Metropolis Conference 2020 in Beijing – Cancelled

Our petition (http://chng.it/kfzPmtVk), the issues it raised and consequent publicity seems to have contributed to the decision to cancel holding the conference in Beijing although there is still no public confirmation on the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) website.

Thanks to all who supported or shared the petiition.

Best wishes for the holidays.

Andrew

Joshua v Ruiz II: Anthony Joshua responds to ‘sportwashing’ Saudi human rights claims

One of my friends shared this article and the new term “sportwashing.”

Great expression that captures the reality all too well.

And of course China’s hosting the 2020 International Metropolis migration conference similarly is “conferencewashing:”

British boxer Anthony Joshua says he would “definitely be bothered” if his world heavyweight title fight with Andy Ruiz Jr was being used to ‘sportswash’ human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua is trying to reclaim three of the heavyweight world titles he lost to Ruiz in June by beating the American on Sunday morning in Diriyah.

Human Rights campaigners have criticised the fight’s location and urged Joshua to “speak out” about issues in the country.

“In the future maybe I can bear a different kind of flag,” Joshua said.

“But at the minute it’s a world championship flag. I just want to do a job.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who is also the promoter New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker, has openly stated that a huge financial commitment by Saudi’s General Sports Authority (GSA) left little option but to stage the bout in the kingdom.

Joshua, who holds ambassador posts with several high-profile brands and who works closely with a number of charities, told the BBC that fighting in Saudi did not “necessarily” detract from his image as a role model.

Asked how he would feel if the event was part of a move to ‘sportswash’ over wrongdoing, he said: “If that was the case I would definitely have to say I would be bothered – but my only focus is the boxing.

“I feel like taking boxing globally is what a world champion should be doing. You fight around the world.”

Joshua was also asked if his status as a role model may be undermined by fighting in the country.

“Not necessarily,” he said. “I just came here for the boxing opportunity. I look around and everyone seems pretty happy and chilled. I’ve not seen anyone in a negative light out here, everyone seems to be having a good time.

“As an individual I try to bring positivity and light everywhere I go. I’m just seeing it from my eyes alone but for sure the country in itself is trying to do a good job politically.

“For the sporting side of things, I just feel I’ve got a fight to focus on.”

‘No-one can tell a fighter where they can and can’t go’

The move to stage high-level sport in Saudi Arabia forms part of a wider strategy – known as Vision 2030 – that seeks to improve how the country is viewed and progressively move it away from its oil-dependent economy.

Formula E, golf’s European Tour and World Wrestling Entertainment have moved to hold events in the country, while a number of pop stars have staged concerts.

Campaigners say sport is being used as a soft power by the Saudi government to hide long-standing issues including women’s rights abuses, the treatment of the LGBT community and the restriction of free speech.

Promoter Hearn insists Saudi involvement is “here to stay in boxing” but he has repeatedly referenced the fact other sporting institutions have worked in the country, while well-known brands found on UK high streets are also open to business in the capital city Riyadh.

Asked whether money was influential in Joshua’s decision, Hearn replied: “Of course.

“There are so many hypocrites. You’re here covering the event, why? Because you want as many eyeballs on the BBC website or news piece as possible.

“No individual, journalist or media outlet can possibly tell a fighter where they can or can’t go to earn money in a sport like this.

“We can’t be seen to be endorsing anything other than our job to provide life-changing opportunities for our clients who take part in one of the most barbaric and dangerous sport that exists.

“If we don’t get on board then someone else will anyway.”

‘A win would top everything’ – Joshua

Joshua has freely fielded questions on the politics around what is a critical fight in his career following his shock loss to Ruiz in New York in June.

He explains his first professional loss has left “scar tissue” but says it taught him to “never lose grip of your goals”.

Asked whether victory at Diriyah Arena on Saturday would therefore top his list of achievements he replied: “Yes, this would be number one. There are now doubters.

“I feel like I belong here so it’s not like it’s something I am chasing. It’s just a quest for greatness in myself.

“How much do I want it? A whole heap. But not to prove anything to anyone, just to prove it to myself. When I win, I am not going to be too surprised as I believe this is my destiny and I belong in this position.”

Joshua and Ruiz will walk to the ring at around 9.30am NZT for a controversial and highly anticipated rematch.

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/sport/404987/joshua-v-ruiz-ii-anthony-joshua-responds-to-sportwashing-saudi-human-rights-claims

Ramos and Griffith: Human rights defenders should boycott immigration conference in Beijing

Our op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen (part of the national Postmedia chain for those outside of Canada):

The number of international events being hosted by China is on the rise. At first glance, one might argue that global exchange is a mechanism for the West to normalize democratic values and open science. However, the world is increasingly witnessing repressive regimes, such as that in China, rise in influence at the cost of human rights and democracy. This then raises the question: Does participating in events hosted by such regimes promote engagement or complicity?

The Chinese regime has created a number of quasi-independent groups, such as the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), which bills itself as “China’s leading global non-governmental think tank with more than 10 branches and overseas representatives.” The CCG is in fact part of the United Front Work Department, a branch of the Chinese Communist Party that aims to exert Chinese government influence around the world. Both organizations are key pillars in attracting conferences to China, which means that their events will most likely legitimize the regime on the international stage, rather than curb it through engagement.

One example of how this plays out can be seen through the International Metropolis Conference, which involves government policy makers, academics and non-governmental sector organizations and is set to be held in Beijing this coming June. The CCG was a key stakeholder in wooing the conference’s secretariat and bringing it to China. The conference focuses on immigration and refugee issues and is widely known for promoting multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion. It was founded in 1996 with Canadian government funding and with strong links with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada which hosted last year’s conference. Its secretariat is currently based at Carleton University. The conference and the “Metropolis” brand are almost synonymous with Canadian immigration.

Does participating in events hosted by such regimes promote engagement or complicity?Holding such a conference in China under the current regime can only legitimize Beijing’s human rights abuses. Both the United Nations and Amnesty International have issued reports warning that China is actively suppressing its ethnic minority populations. Up to one million  Muslim Uighur are being held in “re-education centres,” which are essentially prison camps. It is ironic to hold a conference on refugees in a country that produced them, and doing so is an act of complicity.

Based on past practices of the regime, it is almost certain that Chinese authorities will not permit a free and open exchange of ideas on relevant Chinese policy and practice. Foreign speakers will likely be discouraged from talking about issues that might “offend” the government, or will censor themselves. Chinese participants will be prohibited from doing so. It is also very likely that minders will be present to monitor and intervene in the event of any real or perceived criticism.

Some might argue that participating in the conference is a means to change the regime and that all countries have blemishes. Canada, for instance, still wrestles with ongoing colonialism. But, there is a major difference between countries that have entrenched human rights in their legislation and those, such as China, who do not. It is naïve to think that hosting an event in China will change its practices.

For this reason, more than 150 academics and representatives of non-governmental groups from across Canada and 11 countries signed a petition against both holding and attending the International Metropolis Conference in Beijing. They recognize that it is not too late to do something about the message Canada and other democratic countries send when they fund and participate in events in China, and that it is not too late for individual Canadians to make a difference.

It is time for Canada and other Western countries to recognize they cannot assume that policy and academic exchange will change repressive regimes. Rather it could potentially legitimate them or send the signal that the international community is willing to turn a blind eye. For these reasons it is time to rethink when it is appropriate to participate in events held by repressive regimes. Failing to do so risks compromising Canadian and international human rights values.

Source: https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/ramos-and-griffith-human-rights-defenders-should-boycott-immigration-conference-in-beijing

Researchers urge boycott of migration conference slated for China

The Star on our petition:

As Canada struggles to thaw its frosty relationship with China, academics and researchers are boycotting the world’s largest conference on migration, settlement and diversity to be held in Beijing.

The group has launched an online petition urging that the 2020 International Metropolis migration conference be relocated to a country other than China, due to its poor human rights record: the repression of the Muslim Uighur and Tibetan minorities, threats to Hong Kong’s legal and judicial independence, and the detention of foreign nationals, including Canadian businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig.

Canada currently has a travel advisory for China urging people to exercise a high degree of caution due to “the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws” as well as one for Hong Kong because of the ongoing massive anti-government protests. So far, more than 150 academic researchers and other migration experts have signed the petition.

“If Canadian academics and policy-makers, as well as those from other countries, do not participate, it sends a signal that the regime cannot credibly claim to promote academic freedom or have inclusive policies around multiculturalism, immigration or diversity,” said Dalhousie University sociology professor Howard Ramos, who learned that Beijing would be the venue for next year’s conference in an email in late summer.

“Countries that host events on immigration and refugees should be ones that respect academic freedom and the rights of minorities,” he said. “Canada is a leading immigration country and Canadian experts are among the top in the field. A conference on immigration and refugees without them misses cutting-edge policy and scholarship.”

The conference is organized by the International Metropolis Network, made up of experts from around the world in migration and settlement policies as a platform where state officials, non-government organizations and researchers share ideas and discuss best policies to manage migration and integration.

A world leader in global migration, Canada was instrumental in the establishment of the international network of experts, with one of the organization’s three secretariats located at Carleton University. The event attracts as many as 1,000 participants and presenters a year and has been held around the world, including in Nagoya, Japan in 2016, the only time it was held in Asia.

Jan Rath, co-chair of the Metropolis International Steering Committee, said Metropolis has always been an “apolitical” body that believes in engagement and dialogue over isolation, and stands by the selection of the Beijing-based think tank, the Centre for China and Globalization, as the host of the 2020 conference.

Rath said they were aware of the “tense” relationship between Canada and China, adding that Beijing was picked after Berlin and Istanbul withdrew their bids.

“Canada is a free country and people are free to raise their concerns, but we want to make our points clear that we are not endorsing Chinese policies,” said Rath, a sociology professor at the University of Amsterdam. “The steering committee is co-hosting the conference with the think tank, which has no direct involvement of the Chinese government.”

However, Andrew Griffith, a former director-general with the Canadian immigration department, said the Centre for China and Globalization is effectively part of the Chinese government and he fears the conference will be used to legitimize Beijing’s policies and practices.

“It is highly likely that Chinese authorities will not permit a free and open exchange of ideas on relevant Chinese policy or practice. Foreign speakers will be discouraged from raising issues that might ‘offend’ the government,” said Griffith, who is among the initiators of the petition.

He said “minders” will be present to “monitor and intervene in the event of any real or perceived criticism.”

Source: Researchers urge boycott of migration conference slated for China

Our reply to the co-chairs: Petition to reconsider location of the 2020 International Metropolis migration conference in Beijing

Further to our petition on change.org and the email received from the co-chairs of the Conference, Jan Rath of the University of Amsterdam and Paul Spoonley, Massey University New Zealand, we have sent and posted on change.org our reply:

Thank you for your comprehensive and thoughtful response to our questions and concerns.

Under normal circumstances, holding a migration conference in China would be of interest.

Equally, in principle we do not disagree that cultural, academic and policy exchanges can sometimes be useful in generating shifts in repressive regimes and that isolation only worsens and alienates such regimes. 

However, this depends on the subject matter and country circumstances.

Is it appropriate to hold a migration conference, where so many issues are linked to human rights, in a country which does not enshrine human rights and the associated values of promoting integration, tolerance, academic freedom, multiculturalism, and protection of refugees?

While Metropolis may view itself as an apolitical network, the host organization in China, the Centre for China and Globalization (CCG), is not, as it is effectively part of the Chinese government through the United Front Work Department.

The decision to hold the conference in Beijing at a time of the repression of the Uighurs and other minorities along with general human rights abuses is in itself a political decision to turn a blind eye to those abuses. 

There can be little doubt that it will be presented as such by the Chinese government. We are also convinced, based on experience, that Chinese authorities will not permit a free and open exchange of ideas on relevant Chinese policy or practice. Foreign speakers will be discouraged from raising issues that might ‘offend’ the government, Chinese participants will be prohibited from doing so, and ‘minders’ will be present to monitor and intervene in the event of any real or perceived criticism.

While indeed all countries have “blemishes in its policies and actions,” there is a difference between China and the countries that have typically hosted Metropolis. 

Placing restrictive immigration policies among Western countries on the same level as the Chinese government “re-education” camps for Uighurs or its lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law lacks credibility.

The bilateral disputes between China and Canada have nothing to do with broader issues raised by the petition and its signatories.

To claim that “the Government of China is not involved in setting the agenda or the terms of the debate” when the host organization, the CCG, is effectively part of the Government of China, is not credible.

Once again, the decision to hold the Conference in China given the current circumstances is in itself a political decision and it is disingenuous if not naive to pretend otherwise.

Once again, grateful that you consider signing the petition (change.org) and spreading the word as the more signatures we get, and the broader the geographic coverage, the better (as of November 15, we have about 150 signatories, about 70 percent from Canada with the vast majority of the rest being from the US.

 

Response to our petition to reconsider location of the 2020 International Metropolis migration conference in Beijing

Further to our petition on change.org, the co-chairs of the Conference, Jan Rath of the University of Amsterdam and Paul Spoonley, Massey University New Zealand, provided the following response:

The International Metropolis Project has been made aware of a petition urging that Metropolis change the location of our 2020 annual conference which is  planned for Beijing in June. The argument that the petition expresses concerns about  the position and actions taken by the Government of China with respect to some of the country’s ethnic minorities and with respect to freedom of expression. Let it be said that Metropolis understands these concerns, which have long been voiced, and takes them seriously. But let it also be said that Metropolis has always been – and remains – an apolitical network that believes in the value of international exchange among a whole range of migration players and stakeholders, to enhance mutual understanding. It also believes in engagement and dialogue over isolation. We, therefore, stand by the decision to accept the offer of the Beijing-based think tank, the Centre for China and Globalization, to host the Metropolis Conference in 2020.

China has emerged not only as a major economic power in the world, but also as a country with a significant role in migration, whether in Asia or globally. For us to understand regional and global migration means understanding China’s role in migration, both as a country of origin and, more recently, a country of destination. To ignore China in the field of migration today is to have but a partial understanding of global migration phenomena. An International Metropolis Conference there offers a direct opportunity for members of the Metropolis network to meet and engage with their counterparts in that country and in the region, and vice-versa. We trust that this will foster an enhanced mutual understanding of migration developments.

The petition that asks Metropolis to re-locate the 2020 conference originates in Canada, which is now engaged in a sensitive and difficult diplomatic matter with China. This is no matter for Metropolis to get involved with. Furthermore, that Metropolis should choose to hold its conferences in any particular country is not to be taken as support for the policies of our host country, regardless of which country it is. No country is without blemishes in its policies and actions, not even those with enviable reputations regarding migration. That is why, engaging in international exchanges of the kind that Metropolis conferences facilitate is important to keep the dialogue going and to map out issues of interest  and concern in an informed manner. The 2020 Metropolis Conference in Beijing is being organized jointly by the Metropolis International Steering Committee and the Centre for China and Globalization. The Government of China is not involved in setting the agenda or the terms of the debate. As always, the program is set by the International Steering Committee, specifically its Chairs in consultation with the local host in Beijing, China. This will therefore be a regular International Metropolis Conference located in a country that, owing to its current migration dynamics, offers a range of pertinent insights for those who take part.

As we said, although we understand the concerns expressed in the petition and we take them seriously, we regard the petition as mistaken in its position that it is better to isolate than to engage.

We will, in due course, post a formal response but suffice to say, to make the assertion that:

“The Government of China is not involved in setting the agenda or the terms of the debate. As always, the program is set by the International Steering Committee, specifically its Chairs in consultation with the local host in Beijing, China.”

The Chinese host is, of course, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), part of the United Front Work Department, a branch of the Chinese Communist Party, that aims to project Chinese government influence.

Once again, grateful that you consider signing the petition (change.org) and spreading the word as the more signatures we get, and the broader the geographic coverage, the better (as of November 8, we have about 140 signatories, about three quarters from Canada with the vast majority of the rest being from the US.

 

Beijing says Canadian military participation at Chinese sports competition more proof it’s not losing global support

Another reminder of how the 2020 International Metropolis conference in Beijing will be presented as legitimization of the regime’s repressive policies towards minorities (e.g., “re-education camps” for Uighurs, Tibet) and general human rights abuses.

How DND and others attending didn’t think or consider how this would be presented hard to understand.

If you haven’t already, please consider signing the petition a number of us initiated against the holding of the conference in Beijing: http://chng.it/kfzPmtVk

Beijing’s embassy in Canada says the fact the Canadian military just sent a “big delegation” to a sporting competition in China is more evidence the Asian power is not losing friends.

Canada-China relations are in a deep freeze after Beijing locked up two Canadians in apparent retaliation for Ottawa’s detention of a Chinese high-tech executive on an extradition request from the United States. China banned Canadian pork and beef and severely curbed purchases of Canadian canola seed and soybeans.

China has also come under heavy criticism for how the Beijing-backed administration in Hong Kong is handling unprecedented protests there, and in the mounting scrutiny of the internment of an estimated one million Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang Province.

But the Chinese government, through its representatives in Canada, wants Canadians to know Beijing is not isolated or losing support.

It posted a statement on the website of its embassy in Canada to criticize a column published in The Globe and Mail last week, titled How China Loses Friends and Alienates People. The guest column by a U.S. academic discussed the backlash from China after Daryl Morey, general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, tweeted remarks in support of the protests in Hong Kong and said bullying is self-defeating behaviour that will cost Beijing support.

The embassy said the list of China’s friends is growing. “More and more countries commend China’s foreign policy and development path. China’s friends are all over the world. This is a fact that can neither be obliterated nor changed by some people’s groundless accusations,” the Chinese embassy said.

“In the future, we will have more and more friends in various fields.”

It highlighted the presence of Canada and other nations in the World Military Games, held in China from Oct. 18 to 27.

International participation in the games, which attracted “9,308 military athletes from 109 countries, including a big delegation from Canada, speaks volumes in this regard,” the embassy said.

Ottawa didn’t issue any news release before or during the games to draw attention to Canada’s participation.

Daniel Le Bouthillier, head of media relations at the Department of National Defence, said Canada sent 114 athletes, 57 coaches and support staff.

Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said he’s surprised Canada sent soldiers.

He said Canada must rethink how it engages with Beijing. “Now that we have seen the dark side of China, we have to have a much more realistic approach to China. Yes, we have to engage them … but at the same time we have to take into account they can be very brutal if we do something they don’t like.”

Mr. Saint-Jacques said China’s pressure on other countries and companies to avoid criticism of its conduct is growing: “Their list of red lines is getting longer all the time. It used to be Falun Gong and Tibet and Taiwan. Now it’s Hong Kong and Xinjiang too.”

The Defence Department did not directly answer when asked why Canada sent athletes to China even as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland accuses Beijing of arbitrarily detaining former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor.

The department said Canada “remains deeply concerned by China’s actions, including the arbitrary detention,” added that it hoped the games foster friendship.

“The spirit of the World Military Games is to create a space for friendly competition among armed forces,” Mr. Le Bouthillier said.

China expert Charles Burton, who served in the Canadian embassy in Beijing, said National Defence should not have participated in the military sports games.

“At this time, there shouldn’t be any celebratory activities going on between Canada and China, and I would suggest a major sports competition is about celebrating friendship and therefore I think it was a mistake for our military to go,” he said.

Mr. Burton said Canada’s participation “must be quite offensive” to the families of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor. The two were arrested and later charged with stealing state secrets after Canada detained senior Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive Meng Wanzhou last December. They have been in prison for almost a year.

Canada’s new ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, undertook consular visits with Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig over the last week.

Mr. Burton, a senior fellow at Centre for Advancing Canada’s Interests Abroad, said he hopes the Canadian government will not send athletes to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in February, 2022, because that would be signalling “that relations are normal and passively accepting what China is doing.”

Conservative MP Peter Kent said it was inappropriate to send athletes to Beijing.

“It is unacceptable. Basically, the government should be curtailing completely collegial events at a time when Canadians are held hostage and where trade embargoes have been improperly placed on contracted Canadian sectors,” he said.

Mr. Kent also said Canada should also consider boycotting the Olympics.

Source: pointing to

Petition: Reconsider location of the 2020 International Metropolis migration conference in Beijing

As you may have noticed, I have been critical of the planning committee for the International Metropolis Migration conference decision to select Beijing as the site despite the country’s regime has been a producer of refugees and the UN and Amnesty International recognizing it is actively supressing China’s ethnic minority populations.

Examples can be seen with the Muslim Uighur minority through prison camps as well as suppression of the Tibetan minority.

The regime also regularly interferes with academic freedom both at home and abroad and uses such venues to legitimize its practices.

The Canadian government, moreover, notes that Canadians should “exercise a high degree of caution in China due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”

For these reasons, Howard Ramos and I have started a petition the International Metropolis conference steering committee to reconsider the location of the next conference.

We write to you to consider signing and endorsing our petition. More information and the petition can be found here:http://chng.it/PR5HX5ZsyH

Please share with your various networks.