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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I think it’s unfair and demeaning.”

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

Senator [Woo] warns China might not free Spavor and Kovrig in Meng deal if Canada not part of effort

Sigh… Not wise or helpful:

An expert in Canada-Asian relations is warning a future U.S. deal to set free Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou may not lead to the immediate release of two Canadians locked up in China – particularly if Ottawa is not seen as having played a significant role in her release.

Senator Yuen Pau Woo, as facilitator of the Independent Senators Group in the Red Chamber, is the leader of the largest bloc in the Senate. Prior to his appointment to the Senate, he served as president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in Vancouver.

Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were seized and locked up by Beijing in 2018 shortly after Ms. Meng was arrested at Vancouver airport on a U.S. extradition request – apparently in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei Technologies executive.

Ms. Meng is fighting extradition to the United States in court and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rejected calls from Beijing to intervene and send her home, saying there will be no political interference in Canada’s independent judicial system. In late 2020, however, the U.S. Justice Department was reportedly in discussions on a plea agreement that would allow Ms Meng to return to China.

Mr. Woo has previously played a role in back-channel diplomacy between Canada and China and says he wants to do what he can do help bring about the release of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor. “I am plugged into the discussions around these issues.”

He said there is a risk a future U.S. deal to free Ms. Meng could be “misinterpreted on the Chinese side as a problem that was resolved purely by D.C. and Beijing” without Canada.

“The resolution of the Meng Wanzhou issue may not, I am really sad to say, may not facilitate a resolution of the Spavor-Kovrig issue,” Mr. Woo told a Carleton University webinar last week.

“For the simple reason that if the political resolution is a bilateral one between the U.S. and China, that will effectively take Canada out of the equation and reduce our degrees of freedom to encourage the release of our two compatriots.”

Elaborating on this in a later interview, Mr. Woo said it’s very important that Canada be seen by Beijing as actively trying to bring about a resolution that would free Ms. Meng and if a U.S.-brokered deal is ever reached, that “Canada’s fingerprints will be all over” that arrangement.

“Right now the Canadian position for Meng Wanzhou is there is legal process and she has to go through it …. Give it your best shot – in terms of Madam Meng’s lawyers – and whatever happens, happens,” he said.

But, he noted, the United States has reportedly been trying to broker a solution.

“If we say that we are relying on the normal process of legal discussion to solve the Meng issue, why would the Chinese then subvert their legal process … to free the Michaels?”

Mr. Woo also said Canada, which has criticized the arrest of the two Michaels as “arbitrary detention,” must also recognize the Chinese justice system as legitimate.

“I don’t see that there can be any resolution of the dual problem of Meng Wanzhou and the two Michaels without some recognition and acknowledgment, on the part of the two governments, of the legitimacy of the justice systems of the other side,” he told the Carleton webinar.

“I am not saying we have to agree with the Chinese justice system but it would be extremely difficult for the Chinese to suddenly spring free Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig if we essentially say that … your system is totally illegitimate.”

Added Mr. Woo: That’s “going to be very difficult for the Chinese to spring them free because it would be basically recognizing that the Canadian side was right.”

Conservative Senator Leo Housakos said he was appalled by the suggestion that Canada should recognize China’s judicial system as legitimate.

He said it’s impossible to consider China’s justice system legitimate “when it can imprison you without charges, [when it’s] a system that doesn’t disclose what the charges are to you or to your attorney and is a judicial system that is done in closed-door privacy.”

Added Mr. Housakos: “It’s laughable.”

The Conservative senator said it’s important to remember that Ms. Meng is being accused of serious charges of bank fraud and the Canadian courts must deal impartially with the extradition proceedings, regardless of whether the U.S. grants a deferred prosecution agreement.

The American charge for which she was arrested in Canada is fraud – lying to a bank – which is a crime in both this country and the United States.

The U.S. alleges that Ms. Meng deceived banks including HSBC about the true nature of the relationship between Huawei and a subsidiary based in Iran, called Skycom, and that this fraud led bankers to clear hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The Conservative senator noted that Mr. Woo recently refused to grant leave for his motion that would have imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Chinese officials over its brutal treatment of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority.

He noted that Mr. Woo advocated a prisoner exchange with Ms. Meng and the two Michaels as did prominent Liberals from the Jean Chrétien era, such as former justice minister Allan Rock, former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy and Eddie Goldenberg, a senior Chrétien adviser.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-senator-warns-china-might-not-free-spavor-and-kovrig-in-meng-deal-if/