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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Candidates fight for rights for China during the election campaign

Candidates and activists say that those election candidates who have taken a stand against human rights violations and interventions by the Chinese regime find themselves targeted by efforts to deprive them of votes, such as defamation campaigns.

Kenny Chiu, a Conservative candidate who is seeking re-election in the Steveston-Richmond East BC constituency, said that in previous campaigns, he had been the target of misinformation against him, but this year “the situation is extraordinary.”

On September 10, 2021, before the September 20 federal election, a man entered an early polling station in Ottawa. (Canada Media/Adrian Wilder)

“Compared to what I have seen, it’s nothing – it’s multidimensional,” Qiu told The Epoch Times, referring to social media posts, radio comments, and pro-Beijing media online articles that negatively affected him. describe.

Gloria Fung, president of Canada-Hong Kong Link, said that there was a “orchestrated” campaign aimed at “smearing and slandering” candidates who bluntly said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) violated human rights.

“This kind of direct interference is very, very obvious, and it’s becoming more and more aggressive,” Feng said in an interview.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Agency said in a July report that it saw an increase in the “frequency and complexity” of state-sponsored campaigns targeting Canadian elections. In a rare public speech in February, CSIS chief David Vigneault listed China and Russia as hostile foreign governments who engage in activities directly aimed at Canada’s national security.

A poll released by Nanos this month before the federal election on September 20 showed that most Canadians want the government to be “stronger” in relations with China.

O’Toole targeted

Online articles and posts are not only aimed at candidates. Chinese state media also published hostile reports on the Conservative Party and leader Irene O’Toole, who took a tough stance against the CCP.

The Conservative Party’s platform has a detailed plan for dealing with the Chinese regime, including combating foreign interference and safeguarding human rights in China. The platform pointed out that the plan is aimed at the Chinese Communist regime, and the Conservative Party supports the Chinese people.

In a Twitter post sharing Conservative Party editorials, the Chinese state-owned company Global Times condemned the party’s platform for catering to Canada’s “toxic anti-China atmosphere” and said it indicated that they were “at the end of the party”.

Epoch Times Photos
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole is interviewed by the media in Quebec City on August 18, 2021. (Canadian Media/Ryan Remioz)

Richard Lee, a spokesperson for the Canadian Community Awareness Advocacy Platform (CPACA), a Chinese community organization based in Toronto, said that the CCP is worried about a possible Conservative government.

“The CCP attacked O’Toole because of his policies toward the CCP,” he said through an interpreter.

Misinformation campaign

As a member of Congress, Qiu introduced Bill C-282, a private membership bill designed to force those working on behalf of foreign entities to register as foreign agents in order to increase transparency.

The United States and Australia already have similar legislation. Shortly before the Australian version of the legislation came into effect in 2017, two former cabinet ministers and one former prime minister resigned from their positions in organizations closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

Qiu said that his bill was to combat foreign interference, but it was “deliberately” distorted to mislead the Chinese community, which is against their interests.

“As long as someone reads the bill I submitted, they will realize what it is about. But it is being distorted,” he said.

One such Chinese article seen by The Epoch Times contained a headline stating that the bill was intended to “suppress the Chinese community.” Speaking of Qiu’s vote in Parliament to recognize China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims as genocide and his request for Magnitsky sanctions against officials who violated human rights in Hong Kong, the article went on to say that Qiu “voted to condemn China’s Xinjiang Uyghurs. The bill” also requires sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong government officials. “

The article urges more people who care about the well-being of the “Chinese community” to share the post.

Epoch Times Photos
The police arrested protesters participating in a democratic demonstration in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. (Song Bilong/The Epoch Times)

Qiu said the misinformation campaign against him is having an impact, and pointed out that some people who had volunteered for his campaign in previous elections did not join this year, but instead supported his Liberal opponent Palm Baynes.

The Epoch Times asked for comments on Baynes’s campaign, but received no response.

Qiu also said that some of his supporters felt that they were defending him online to avoid the restrictions of defamation campaigns because they have family ties in China and worry about their safety.

“All I want is that the information spread is true,” he said. “It distracted me a lot and diverted my attention. I had hoped that people could judge me based on policies and what I did as a member of Parliament.”

Qiu said he did not know who was behind the false propaganda campaign against him, but said that it should be investigated.

“These attacks give the impression that they are coordinated and the timing is just right,” he said.

Qiu is one of the members of Congress who was sanctioned by the CCP for revenge on Canadian officials who participated in the persecution of Uyghurs. He said that the CCP tried to brainwash the Chinese people to make them believe that “the party, the country, and the race” are the same thing. If you criticize the party, you are criticizing the country itself.”

He said that there are also people in Canada who are pushing to portray anyone who criticizes the CCP as inciting hatred against Asians.

Qiu, who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1989, said: “I totally disagree with this.”

“The more people of color and Chinese Canadians oppose racism, the influence of the Chinese Communist Party in Canada, the abuse of Falun Gong practitioners, and the genocide against Uighurs and Turkic Muslims, the more the Canadian public is willing to be aware of the support of the Chinese community These core Canadian values.”

“The Issue of Chinese Citizens”

Fung of Canada-Hong Kong Link said that both the federal government and the Canadian Election Commission need to be aware of such defamation activities during the election.

She added that in addition to Zhao, other Canadian politicians have also been targeted for their stance on the CCP, including Guan Zhenni, the New Democratic Party candidate who bluntly called for democracy in Hong Kong.

“There is a well-planned social media campaign designed to discredit and slander the outspoken candidates. [against CCP’s rights violations],” Feng said.

Guan is seeking re-election in East Vancouver.

Epoch Times Photos
New Democratic Party member Guan Zhenni asked questions during the questioning session in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 25, 2018. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

A statement provided by her campaign office to The Epoch Times stated that Guan’s campaign manager, Gabriel Yiu, opposed the free lunch organized by Fred Kwok, the organizer of the Chinese community in Vancouver, to “promote the Liberal candidates in eastern Vancouver”, saying that it sabotaged the “election. Integrity of the process”.

The Epoch Times contacted the Liberal Party for comment, but received no response.

Kwok paid $1,500 for the lunch on August 29, and his previous political donations made him exceed the Canadian Election Board’s limit of $1,650. In an interview, he said that he knows nothing about the rules and is now seeking to register as a “third party”, which the Canadian Election Commission defines as an individual or group that wants to “participate in or influence the election.”

In the invitation to the event that the Epoch Times saw on the Chinese social media platform WeChat on August 29, Guo said that everyone was invited to a free lunch, if the Liberal Party candidate Josh Vander Vies) won, “This means that at least more parliamentarians are concerned about the problems of Chinese citizens.”

Guan’s campaign statement stated that her campaign manager was not sure what Guo meant when he referred to the “problems of Chinese citizens” and whether he mentioned “Guan’s stance on China’s violation of human rights and suppression of freedom.” The statement added that Guan’s position is consistent with her position on human rights issues, whether in Canada or elsewhere.

Mr. Guo has served as an executive in many Chinese organizations in Vancouver, including the Vancouver Chinese Philanthropy Association (CBA), and his position is the same as that in Beijing. This includes advertising in Chinese newspapers condemning democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

He told The Epoch Times that he organized this event to let the Chinese community pay attention to racism and other community concerns. He hoped that the community would participate in the election and learn about different candidates. He added, “People believe my words and take their opinions out of context,” and rejected his claim that he was promoting the Liberal Party candidate.

Guo said that he doesn’t care about candidates’ positions in the Chinese regime. He mainly cares about local businesses in Chinatown.

When asked why his CBA organization would weigh the situation in Hong Kong if he was mainly concerned with local issues, he said: “This is the way it is. I will not continue to explain, so I just refuse to answer any more questions.”

Influence movement

CPACA’s Lee said that it is clear that the CCP’s influence in the Canadian Chinese community has increased significantly in recent years. He said that this includes the Chinese consulate’s control of candidates during the election and the regime’s control of overseas Chinese media.

Li said that he observed that in this election campaign, Chinese candidates with ties to the Chinese consulate did not express their stance on China as bluntly as before, because the Canadian public was more vigilant against the Chinese Communist Party’s hostile behavior. Opposition to Canada, including the detention of Michael Cummingcay and Michael Spavor. But he said that behind the scenes, the candidates expressed their views on a more private platform.

Epoch Times Photos
A man holds a sign in Vancouver on January 21, 2020, which reads photos of Michael Cummingkie and Michael Spavor, who were detained in China. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

“Although the candidates did not publicly talk about their position and support for Beijing, you can see them expressing their views on social media or other private groups, repeating the CCP’s talking points, such as requesting release. [Huawei executive] Meng Wanzhou also reiterated Beijing’s position on Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues,” he said.

At the same time, Li said that influence actions have been fully displayed on social media to block votes from politicians and political parties that are against the interests of the CCP.

“They are using these social media posts to influence the Chinese community.”

Zhou Limin reports.

Omid Gorech

Omid Ghoreishi is a Toronto correspondent for The Epoch Times.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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