Monday, October 17, 2016

Chinese-Canadians want apology for City Hall pro-regime celebration

Chinese-Canadians want apology for City Hall pro-regime celebration

Local politicians defend wearing red scarves to hoist China’s flag in Vancouver on Friday, after community members expressed anger.

Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang speaks at a China national day flag-raising ceremony on Friday, flanked on his left by fellow Coun. Geoff Meggs. To his far right, Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido.
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Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang speaks at a China national day flag-raising ceremony on Friday, flanked on his left by fellow Coun. Geoff Meggs. To his far right, Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido.
What’s the difference between the “cradle of democracy,” Greece, and the Chinese Communist Party-ruled dictatorship?                                                                            
Apparently not much — at least if you want to have the City of Vancouver and local politicians host a flag-raising celebration at City Hall.
Now members of the region’s Chinese-Canadian community are demanding an apology from Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang for hoisting the People’s Republic of China flag himself alongside Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido, both wearing red scarves, at an event on Friday.
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“The decision to fly the flag of any nation neither implies nor expresses support for the politics of those nations,” an email from the city stated on Monday, citing recent flags raised for democracies such as Mexico, Slovenia, Ukraine, and the Philippines.
But one local resident who sees a big difference between those democracies and the Chinese regime is Li Yi-Ping, who immediately thought back to June 1989 in Beijing.
“I can still remember Tiananman Square,” Li told Metro. “I witnessed the whole event from the beginning to the end.
“I saw people shot down by bullets that night. Thousands lost their lives. So many people peacefully demonstrated, just asking for some freedoms. The government used tanks and machine guns to put our movement down.”
Now, Li and others who left the People’s Republic of China are worried about what they say is that regime’s increasing influence over politics and affairs in Canada, where they found a home.
Jang could not be reached for comment Monday, but in an interview Sunday told Metro Friday’s event simply followed federal protocol for hosting different states’ events. Singling out China’s event is “just racism pure and simple,” he said when asked about some Chinese-Canadians’ concerns.
That comment sparked Li to demand an apology not just for the event, but for accusing critics of racism. He said his criticism is of the Chinese government — not people — and called Jang’s remarks “insensitive.”
“I want to hear them apologize to the people who lost their lives in the 67-year history of the Communist regime,” Li said. “I want them to promise they will learn more about what happened in China, and what’s still happening right now in China — to hear them promise they will never go to this kind of ceremony.
“And if, in the interests of Canada, they have to do something to communicate with that regime, at least don’t celebrate the regime.”
Friday's ceremony, held a day before China's national day celebrations, was organized by the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, which has also held birthday events for former dictator Mao Zedong, who oversaw the killings of an estimated 60 million people or more during his rule.
Another Chinese-Canadian, Louis Huang with the Alliance of the Guard of Canadian Values, said that being accused of racism was almost as “insensitive” as participating in the original flag-raising ceremony and wearing a red scarf that signifies, to Huang, support for the regime. (Jang denied it was, saying it’s an ancient tradition).
“This is completely not about racism,” Huang said. “It’s a political issue, it’s an issue of elected councillors deciding what is the right act as a politician in Canada.
“The story behind this is China’s influence on society in Canada. We’ve been talking about this issue for many years already. Unfortunately, Kerry Jang made a huge mistake."