The Long Reach of the Dragon’s Claws, Hong Kongers in Canada Section

(Caption for photo at top of the post: “A man holds a banner during a rally in support of Hong Kong democracy, in Vancouver, on Aug. 16, 2020.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press”.)

Further to this February post,

Bets on Date for first RCMP Arrest for PRC Intimidation/Interference in Canada?

I wouldn’t hold my breath given the reluctance of PM Trudeau’s government to see criminal charges related to Chicom espionage in Canada (there have been none under his premiership, many in the US by the Justice Department). Plus those involved are likely to be working out of their four Consulates General in Canada (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal) or Chinese Canadians involved with CCP United Front Work Department bodies (no racism, please). But at least the Mounties’ commissioner is publicly referring to China…

I’d still keep off holding that breath as PM Trudeau’s government seems quite content to let the Chicoms go after ethnic Chinese in Canada whom the CCP dislikes, citizens or otherwise, . At the Globe and Mail:

Be careful you don’t die in an accident’: Hong Kong protester living in Canada receives daily threats

Steven Chase Senior parliamentary reporter

Alison Lai’s grandfather arrived as a refugee in Hong Kong seven decades ago, trading the chaos of 1950s China for the safety of what was then a British colony.

In 2020, China made a refugee of Ms. Lai, too.

The pro-democracy activist fled Hong Kong, the city of her birth, for Canada last year as Beijing tightened its grip over the territory it acquired from Britain in 1997. She was part of an exodus that has only expanded since China enacted a draconian national security law to silence critics in the city it had once promised would be allowed to retain Western-style civil liberties.

Ms. Lai, 32, is one of thousands of Hong Kongers looking to build a new life in Canada. Like her, some have been granted asylum as political refugees. Others are applying for immigration programs designed to attract well-educated foreigners.

In March, 2020, Ms. Lai’s life was turned upside down in a matter of hours after a friend warned that the Hong Kong police were looking for her. A veteran of the protests that rocked the city when citizens demanded accountability from the Beijing-backed government, she had been tear-gassed, beaten with batons and followed for days by police.Her friends were being arrested, and it was time for her to leave. By the next day, she was on a flight out of Hong Kong.

She headed for Canada, claiming asylum upon arrival – just days before Canadian authorities closed the border as a pandemic measure.

*Amnesty International to close its two Hong Kong offices this year

She has begun building a life in Calgary. Educated as a journalist, she now works in retail. She and other Hong Kong activists have also founded a non-profit organization, the Soteria Humanitarian Institute [website here], to help resettle Hong Kongers, Tibetans and Uyghurs fleeing persecution in China. In Greek mythology, Soteria is the goddess of safety and preservation from harm.

But as with many Hong Kong activists, a fresh start in Canada does not mean an end to harassment and attacks from the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies.

Each day, Ms. Lai is subjected to a torrent of abuse when she opens up Soteria’s social-media accounts [emphasis added].

She is the first Hong Kong refugee to allow The Globe and Mail to publish their name and city of residence, hoping to draw attention to what is happening to critics of China’s authoritarian government who now live in Canada.

As the spokesperson for the group, Ms. Lai is the main target of the anonymous harassers. She receives dozens of missives daily full of foul words and misogynistic attacks. She has been sent video clips of beheadings. “You are such a shame for a Hong Konger. … Be careful you don’t die in an accident,” one recent message said.

They have found out where she works and know her daily routine. They often threaten to pay her a visit [emphasis added]

Her tormentors even know when she has taken part in a protest outside the Chinese consulate in Calgary. This summer, while protesting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Ms. Lai saw men with telephoto lenses taking pictures of the rally participants from the balconies of neighbouring buildings…

Ms. Lai’s friends have taken the matter to the RCMP and the Calgary police. Last year, Ottawa urged anyone being targeted in such a manner to speak to law enforcement [see post at the start of this one].

Martin Seto, a Calgarian with the New Hong Kong Cultural Club, which also supports asylum seekers [main website at Toronto here], said he spoke to the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, but they told him it’s difficult, if not impossible, to trace harassment online – particularly if it’s coming from another country.

The RCMP did not respond to a request for comment [Quelle flipping surprise, eh!].

Cherie Wong [tweets here], the executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong, an umbrella group for Hong Kong pro-democracy activists in Canada [website here], said they and their supporters are particular targets for intimidation. “Harassments of dissidents in the diaspora never stops,” she said. “The Chinese Communist Party in Beijing has identified these folks as clearly disobeying the interests of the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.”

…[Ms Lai] remains committed to her path and motivated by two goals: supporting other exiles from China and telling the story of what the Chinese Communist Party has done to her people. “When you find something wrong, it is a citizen’s responsibility to tell the government they are wrong.”

Three other relevant posts:

Group Led by Chinese-Canadians Warns of PRC’s Influence/Interference Activities in Canada [group is Alliance Canada Hong Kong]

Two Followers on Twitter and the PRC Persecutes a Chinese in Canada

Don’t Bet on a PM Trudeau Government Investigating PRC Interference in Canada’s Election (note UPDATE)

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

3 thoughts on “The Long Reach of the Dragon’s Claws, Hong Kongers in Canada Section”

  1. Terry Glavin’s comment on the story is quite to the PM Trudeau point:

    Mark Collins


  2. Meanwhile in Europe…listen up PM Trudeau gov’t:

    ‘ EU lawmakers raise alarm on China’s efforts to ‘interfere in European democracies’
    Committee urges the bloc to set up a task force to monitor perceived threats
    Confucius Institutes accused of asserting strict control over research and teaching on China

    European lawmakers have raised the alarm over what they say are Beijing’s growing efforts to disrupt democratic processes in the EU, amid a smattering of instances of alleged Chinese political interference across the bloc [hell of a lot more than a “smattering!].

    At a hearing in Brussels on Tuesday, a special committee looking at outside interference and disinformation at the European Parliament urged the European Union to do more to counter the perceived threat, demanding a special task force be established for “monitoring interference coming from China”.

    The recommendation comes after the committee sent a delegation to Taipei last week to “study Taiwanese experiences in addressing interference and manipulation campaigns”.

    In a sign of the rising anxiety about Beijing, the committee’s 33-page draft report contained 40 references to China, more than twice the number of mentions made of Russia, which has long dominated the debate on foreign interference and disinformation in Brussels and other European capitals.

    The report will be put to the parliament for a non-binding vote early next year…’

    Mark Collins


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