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ACHK submits policy brief to the Government of Canada

Policy Brief: Program Options for Hong Kongers Seeking Protection


On Friday June 26, 2020, ACHK submitted a detailed policy brief to the Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs and 10 MPs. This brief was developed in collaboration with immigration lawyers, policy experts, and the Hong Kong-Canada diaspora communities. We identified program options that will allow Hong Kongers to seek safety in Canada via refugee, immigration, and employment pathways.

Writers:
Alliance Canada Hong Kong Core Team
Alliance Canada Hong Kong Research Team
Ai-Men Lau

Contributors:
Avvy Go
Fr. Richard Soo, SJ
Stand with Hong Kong
VSSDM

Read the public version of the policy brief here.

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ACHK condemns hostage diplomacy and calls attention to the 123 Canadians detained in China

OTTAWA, ON (June 25, 2020) – Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) condemns hostage diplomacy and calls attention to the 123 detained Canadians in China. We demand that the Canadian government commit itself to protecting our citizens abroad. With the Meng Wanzhou case, the Chinese government is trying to lure Canada into a hostage situation, where the lives and safety of Canadians are used as a bargaining chip to trade political favours.


Engaging in hostage diplomacy sets a dangerous precedent that will put a target on all Canadians abroad. Since Meng’s arrest, thirteen Canadians have been detained in China, and Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are isolated as the primary targets of the Chinese government. If Canada compromises in favour of the Chinese government, it shows that any hostile foreign country can hold Canadians hostage to threaten and pressure the Canadian government into compliance. We must not accept the Chinese government’s hostage-taking and let it diminish Canada’s autonomy and strength on the international stage.

Beijing has deliberately tried to alienate itself from the international community. In 2017, Xi Jinping spoke about his global ambitions and Beijing’s role to “guide the international community to jointly build a more just and reasonably new world order.” The Chinese Communist Party has been rewriting global order in their favour: exporting its authoritarian control onto democratic societies.

Canada must take a strong and principled stance, driving a multilateral approach to take a united stance against China’s systematic hostage diplomacy. The international community needs to stand together in calling for the release of global citizens who are imprisoned for politically-driven reasons in China.

It is undeniable that the Chinese government is holding foreign nationals hostage as chips to bargain with democratic governments. We believe in the unity of democratic societies and our international allies. Canada must stand with our allies, rather than kneeling before Beijing’s autocracy. Other nations are looking to our example.

Instead, ACHK recommends the following policy solutions:

1. Launch a coordinated response with other democratic societies to demand the release of foreign nationals who are arrested for politically motivated crimes;

2. Investigate the feasibility of bringing back Canadians via international institutional avenues, such as the International Court of Justice & Human Rights Council;

3. Investigate and combat foreign interference into Canadian institutions, through a national registry of foreign agents and national foreign influence transparency legislation.


ACHK supports and welcomes Taiwanese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese, and other communities who are suffering from persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. ACHK stands in solidarity with Indigenous and marginalized communities both within Canada and abroad. alliancecanadahk.com | info@alliancecanadahk.com

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Remember June 4th

Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) remembers the student movement in 1989 and the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4th. For 31 years, the Chinese Communist Party has actively suppressed any information about the massacre. We recognize June 4th not only for it’s historical and political significance, but to remember the the violent suppression of student protestors and the importance to standing up to the CCP’s oppressive regime.

In 1989, the Canadian government showed compassion for Chinese student activists facing state persecution by granting them permanent residence status to stay in Canada after the massacre. We look to the Government of Canada for their leadership in supporting Hong Kong activists fleeing state and police violence.

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ACHK demands Canadian Government revoke Hong Kong’s Special Administrative status

OTTAWA, ON (May 21, 2020) – Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) condemns the Chinese government’s attempt to illegitimately push through a “national security” law in Hong Kong by circumventing the legislative process.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party is dismantling Hong Kong’s political and press freedoms. We are alarmed by this blatant violation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law Article 18, which experts and activists are interpreting as the death of “One Country, Two Systems” and Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Beijing’s complete disregard for the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a binding international agreement, is reflective of their agenda. The Chinese State has demonstrated that they have no interest in adhering to international norms, but plans to rewrite the rules and reshuffle the international order in their favour.

Hong Kong is no longer an autonomous region, and therefore must be treated as such. We demand the Canadian government and the international community to immediately revoke Hong Kong’s special administrative status. We must consider Hong Kong’s democratic future outside of the confines of the One-China fantasy.

Canada must stand against the Chinese party-state’s global authoritarian control, both overseas and at home. Beijing has been increasingly exerting pressure within Canada and other nations to mute criticism of its human rights violations and mishandlings of the COVID pandemic. We must stand together as an international community to voice support for the Hong Kong people and our own rights and freedoms.


ACHK supports and welcomes Taiwanese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese, and other communities who are suffering from persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. ACHK stands in solidarity with Indigenous and marginalized communities both within Canada and abroad. alliancecanadahk.com | info@alliancecanadahk.com

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Reckoning with the WHO’s handling of health crises

Originally published at Hill Times

Reckoning with the WHO’s handling of health crises

Throughout the pandemic, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has starred in Chinese propaganda videos for heaping lavish praise on Chinese authorities, despite the government’s alleged coverup of the outbreak and ham-fisted response.

On April 16, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would halt funding for the World Health Organization. Many believe that this is a ploy to distract from American struggles to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. But a sober look at the WHO reveals that the organization is rife with alleged corruption, abetted apparent Chinese propaganda and coverups, and deserves significant criticism.

The WHO’s financial improprieties go back years. In 2017, the Associated Press revealed that while investigating the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, then-director general Margaret Chan stayed in a US$1,000 a night presidential suite at a five-star beachside hotel. The report exposed that WHO spends almost half of its total budget on travel, including business class flights—in sharp contrast with Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. More recently, the WHO has faced a surge in internal corruption allegations, including schemes attempting to defraud the organization for large amounts of money. Meanwhile, the WHO body leading the coronavirus response was left chronically underfunded.

American concerns about the WHO include the organization’s deference to China, such as helping Beijing to disseminate propaganda, downplaying the extent of the outbreak, and excluding Taiwan. All of these claims are accurate.

Throughout the pandemic, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has starred in Chinese propaganda videos for heaping lavish praise on Chinese authorities, despite the government’s alleged coverup of the outbreak and ham-fisted response. Without irony, he praised the “transparency” of the Chinese leadership, and said that “China is setting a new standard for outbreak response”—a statement which is technically correct, given China’s “new standard” of arresting the doctors who spotted the initial outbreak.

Dr. Tedros’ cozy relationship with Beijing resulted in the WHO putting far too much faith in Chinese statistics. On Jan. 14, the WHO parrotted Beijing’s claim that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission, even though Chinese doctors had been claiming this for weeks and Taiwanese authorities warned the WHO about such transmission in December. Notably, this is not the first time Dr. Tedros has been accused of a coverup: in 2017, when he was health minister for the brutally repressive Marxist Ethiopian government, Tedros was accused, by the adviser of a rival candidate for the WHO job, of covering up three different cholera outbreaks—accusations that he denied.

The WHO’s delay in declaring a public health emergency of international concern and advising against travel restrictions were widely criticized as too deferential to Beijing’s wishes. Many nations began cancelling flights and screening passengers anyway—in tacit admission of the WHO’s unreliability. Japan’s deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, went so far as to suggest that the organization be renamed to the Chinese Health Organization.

WHO adviser Lawrence Gostin admitted, “We were deceived. Myself and other public health experts, based on what the WHO and China were saying, reassured the public that this was not serious … we were giving a false sense of assurance.”

Taiwan, which has handled the pandemic with tremendous success, is completely shunned by the WHO, allegedly at China’s behest. Bruce Aylward, a Canadian who serves as senior adviser to Dr. Tedros, appeared to — some say pretend — to not hear a reporter’s question when she asked him about Taiwan. When the reporter repeated her question, Aylward appeared to hang up on her. True to form for avoiding tough questions, last week Aylward abruptly cancelled plans to appear in front of the House Health Committee to explain the WHO’s handling of the pandemic.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute reported that “one of Taiwan’s keys to success was using its own intelligence on the outbreak in China rather than relying on Chinese propaganda or WHO pronouncements.” Indeed, Ottawa seems to be the only party standing that still accepts the Chinese figures at face value: Health Minister Patty Hajdu recently dismissed as “conspiracy theories” claims that the Chinese government’s figures are unreliable. When it comes to self-defeating deference to China, the WHO has company.

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ACHK Condemns the Mass-Arrest of 15 Pro-Democracy Leaders in Hong Kong

OTTAWA, ON (April 19, 2020) – Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) condemns the mass-arrest and charges of 15 pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong on April 18th.

“We are outraged by the arrests, which are an act of intimidation and harassment against political opponents,” said Cherie Wong, ACHK’s Executive Director. “Beijing has no intention to hide their oppressive agenda. Instead, the Chinese party-state is weaponizing law enforcement to suppress political differences.”

The arrests of Martin Lee, Margaret Ng, Jimmy Lai, Leung Yiu-chung, Avery Ng, Lee Cheuk-yan, Leung Kwok-hung (“long hair”), Albert Ho, Figo Chan, Sin Chung-kai, Cyd Ho, Au Nok-hin, Yeung Sum, Raphael Wong, and Richard Tsoi reveal Beijing’s plan to silence Hong Kong’s opposition and impose a draconian “national security law” (Article 23) in advance of September’s Hong Kong Legislative Council elections.

ACHK is disgusted by the arrest of veteran activists Martin Lee (age 81), Margaret Ng (72), and Jimmy Lai (71), who are particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. These arrests are not only a blatant violation of these activists’ fundamental rights and freedoms, but also a threat to their health and safety.

ACHK calls for the immediate unconditional release and dismissal of charges for all of the pro-democracy activists.

“We cannot let Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong continue under the cover of COVID-19,” said Alex Ra Lee, ACHK’s Director of Strategy and Policy. “Canadians must remember that Beijing’s reach extends not only into Hong Kong, but into Canada as well. We must stand with our friends in Hong Kong by holding Chinese officials accountable for human rights atrocities and police brutality, and providing humanitarian support to all of those seeking asylum from the Chinese Communist Party.”

ACHK recently issued Five Demands for the Canadian Government and invites all Canadians to Stand with Hong Kong by joining their campaign.


ACHK supports and welcomes Taiwanese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese, and other communities who are suffering from persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. ACHK stands in solidarity with Indigenous and marginalized communities both within Canada and abroad. alliancecanadahk.com | info@alliancecanadahk.com

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ACHK Stands in Solidarity with Medical Professionals

Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) stands in solidarity with medical professionals in Hong Kong, China, and around the globe. Medical professionals, from Hong Kong to Wuhan, are working overtime with a shortage of medical supplies and unsafe workplace. Despite the dangerous conditions, the medical industry are stepping up as frontline fighters of the ongoing 2019-nCoV outbreak.

ACHK supports medical professionals, including but not limited to doctors, nurses, researchers, first responders, who have always prioritized patients’ health and well-being.

Dr. Li Wenliang and his colleagues from Wuhan were suppressed by the Chinese party-state for trying to raise attention to the virus outbreak. On Feb 7, Dr. Li passed away from the virus infection. There have been conflicting reports about the time of Dr. Li’s death. ACHK is wary of the state-level misinformation and media campaigns to manipulate news of Dr. Li’s death for a favourable discourse. We must remain critical of Chinese state media’s narratives and misinformation.

In this healthcare crisis, ACHK stands in support of Hong Kong medical professionals who were on strike against the Hong Kong Government, who has failed to respond to the healthcare industry’s requests and advice. Carrie Lam and her government have failed to support medical professionals, who are putting their lives on the line to support patients in Hong Kong.


ACHK supports and welcomes Taiwanese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese, and other communities who are suffering from persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. ACHK stands in solidarity with Indigenous and marginalized communities both within Canada and abroad. alliancecanadahk.com | info@alliancecanadahk.com

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Why I stand with Hong Kong & why all Canadians should too

Originally published at Hill Times

Why I stand with Hong Kong & why all Canadians should too

Canadians’ press freedom, politics, and education are threatened by the authoritarian overreach of Beijing, writes Alex Lee of Alliance Canada Hong Kong.

The world has been mesmerized with the scenes from Hong Kong’s protests. The shocking footage of police brutality is juxtaposed alongside scenes of strength and bravery against the threats, violence, and authoritarianism of China’s Communist Party. The Communist Party threatens not only the freedom and security of Hong Kongers, but of Canadians and around the world.

Hong Kong matters to Canadians, not only because it is a global financial centre and trading hub, or that there are more Canadians there (roughly 300,00) than in Windsor, Ont., or Saskatoon. (Both Canadian cities have a population of under 300,000.) Hong Kong is also on the front lines of a global stealth war waged by the Communist Party—a war that Canadians are a part of, whether we realize it or not. As per David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China, the party is “the greatest threat to human freedom on the planet.”

In the past two years alone, the Chinese government has kidnapped Canadian citizens, threatened punitive measures against Canada, conducted widespread industrial espionage against Canadian firms, and marshalled attacks on students in Canadian university campuses. Canadians’ press freedom, politics, and education are threatened by the authoritarian overreach of Beijing.

There is a more personal reason why Hong Kong matters. I grew up in Toronto during the 1990s, when thousands of Hong Kong families, fearful of their city’s 1997 return to Chinese control, immigrated to Canada. These immigrants and their children became my cherished childhood friends, and remain as such today.

The woman shot in the eye by a Hong Kong police officer could easily have been Ellie, the first friend I made in kindergarten at a Toronto-area Christian Academy. When riot police indiscriminately beat passengers on the Hong Kong metro, one of the victims could have been Edward, who moved to Canada at seven years old and was delighted when he saw his first snowfall.

The fact that Ellie and Edward grew up Canadian is an accident of history. They could just have easily been harmed as a result of Hong Kong indiscriminate police brutality. When I see students courageously defending their home, supported by an army of parents and community members, I see them as no different from Canadians. They are standing up for the values enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedom. And, as Canadians, we should stand with them.

Ottawa is belatedly waking up. Senators Leo Housakos and Thanh Hai Ngo are introducing a motion calling for Magnitsky sanctions on officials of both Hong Kong and China who violate human rights, justice, and the rule of law. These should be applied not only in regards to Hong Kong, but the genocide and internment of over one million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps. We have not hesitated in applying Magnitsky sanctions against many other countries, and China should be no exception.

China’s ambassador, Cong Peiwu, threatened our government twice against such sanctions, saying that there would be “very firm countermeasures.” We must not bow to these threats.

The Senate is not the only legislative body taking action. An increasing number of MPs are speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party’s atrocities and interference in Canadian affairs. And a newly created parliamentary special committee will probe the increasingly strained Canada-China relationship.

Although all Liberals voted against the committee’s creation in December, a Liberal MP told me privately that they, and some of their colleagues, were supportive of the motion. And thankfully so: defending human rights, national security, and combatting foreign interference must not be partisan issues. Parliament is taking action, and our leaders are unifying against the threat from China’s Communist Party. Belatedly, we’re all beginning to stand with Hong Kong, as they have stood by us. Canadians, Hong Kongers, and the world will be better for it.

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Canadians and Hong Kongers united behind “Canadian 5 demands”

Canadians and Hong Kongers united behind “Canadian Five demands”

VANCOUVER, BC (January 21, 2020) – Ottawa’s inaction over Beijing’s gross violation of human rights has driven Hong Kong Canadians into a grassroots, youth-led, community-based alliance, forging as a unified voice of the Hong Kong Canadian community.

Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) fills an important gap in the Canadian society. Under the current federal leadership, Canada has turned a blind eye and continues to ignore Beijing’s human rights violations, to advance economic and trade relations with China. ACHK condemns the Government of Canada’s bystander position in the face of state-sanctioned genocide and humanitarian crisis.

“Hong Kong is standing alone on the frontline against the tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Davin Wong, Former President of Hong Kong University Student Union and ACHK’s Director of Youth Engagement and Policy Initiatives. “The Government of Canada must stand up against Beijing’s overreach, which is even happening here on Canadian soil.”

ACHK demands immediate action from the Canadian Government.

To determine community sentiments, ACHK, along with Citizens’ Press Conference (CPC) — a Hong Kong-based media organization — conducted a community consultation survey to inform ACHK’s national advocacy direction and political campaign. The survey was targeted to Canadians and Hong Kongers, and over 13,000 individuals participated; Canadian respondents are hailed from all regions of Canada.

Survey results indicate strong support for invoking Magnitsky sanctions and supporting Hong Kongers who are seeking asylum in Canada. Canadian participants highlighted the need to examine foreign interference by the Chinese Communist Party in Canadian’s private and public institutions.

“As a progressive, my peers argue that human rights are not a partisan issue. Yet I am deeply disappointed by the silence of the progressive community on the issues of China’s authoritarian ambitions and blatant violation of human rights,” said Cherie Wong, Executive Director for ACHK. “I am calling on the progressive leadership in Canada, why do you remain silent and complicit in the face of Beijing’s violent oppression?”

ACHK and the Canada-Hong Kong community urge the Government of Canada to support the following “Canadian Five Demands”:

1) Hold officials accountable for human rights atrocities, police brutality, and erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy by banning, sanctioning, and freezing the assets of Chinese Communist Party officials, Hong Kong Government officials, and the Hong Kong Police Force officials, as per the Justice for the Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) (S.C. 2017, c. 21);

2) Provide humanitarian support for Hong Kongers, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Chinese, and other groups seeking asylum from the Chinese Communist Party;

3) Protect Canadians’ fundamental freedom from erosion, and proactively combat Chinese Communist Party interference in Canadian society;

4) Investigate and combat foreign interference into Canadian institutions, including state-funded and/or affiliated Chinese Students and Scholars Associations, Confucius Institutes, and other state-sponsored political, cultural and private events, trips, expenses, and gifts, through a national registry of foreign agents and national foreign influence transparency legislation;

5) End all exports of military/police goods and technology to China that are used for human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party.

ACHK welcomes Canadians to join its campaign here to encourage Canadian politicians to support these five demands.

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ACHK supports and welcomes Taiwanese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese, and other communities who are suffering from persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. ACHK stands in solidarity with Indigenous and marginalized communities both within Canada and abroad. alliancecanadahk.com | info@alliancecanadahk.com

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ACHK’s Campaign Plan Relased

ACHK is proud to release the first version of its campaign plan. The document is available for download here.