Intimidation against Chinese-Canadian human rights activists

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Falun Gong supporters protest a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao outside the Chinese consulate on in Vancouver in 2005. Being identified at such a protest can lead to intimidation reprisals. Photo: Chuck Stoody/The Canadian Press

A new report says that Chinese-Canadians who speak out about human rights issues in China face a variety of threats allegedly instigated by Chinese officials.

The report was prepared in part by Amnesty International Canada, part of a 15-member coalition  of organizations concerned about human rights in China.

Alex Neve is Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada.

Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada.
Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. © Radio-Canada

The intimidation seems to take a variety of forms. These range from veiled threats against family and relatives still living in China, to attempts to destroy reputations,  false information on emails sent in the name of organisations like Falun Gong, disruption of Chinese human rights demonstrations and more.

The coalition report has been sent to Canadian government officials but was not made public due to privacy concerns of several people cited in the report.

World beauty pageant contestant, Canadian Anastasi Lin said her father in China had been harrassed, and she was prevented from entering the country in 2015 for the Miss World Pageant.
World beauty pageant contestant, Canadian Anastasi Lin said her father in China had been harrassed, and she was prevented from entering the country in 2015 for the Miss World Pageant because of human rights comments, and as a practising Falun Gong. © Chris Helgren/Reuters

Neve says a redacted report may soon be released.

The report indicates that the intimidation is having a “significant chilling effect” on those who speak out about the human rights situation in China, Taiwan, or Tibet or the political situation in the latter two countries.

June 2016: During a press conference in Ottawa China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi angrily lashed out at a Canadian journalist who asked a question about human rights in China.
June 2016: During a press conference in Ottawa China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi angrily lashed out at a Canadian journalist who asked a question about human rights in China. © Justin Tang/Canadian Press

People and groups in Canada targeted by the intimidation and threats often belong to the Chinese Uyghur Muslim minority, Tibetans, Taiwanese,  and the Falun Gong members and organisation. The Falun Gong was banned in China in 1999. Members here say that more than 3,000 members in China have died in prison or from abuse.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Trudeau’s trip to China in September 2016. The government is eager to improve trade relations with China,. balancing trade against human rights has always been difficult for Canadian leaders.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Trudeau’s trip to China in September 2016. The government is eager to improve trade relations with China,. balancing trade against human rights has always been difficult for Canadian leaders. © (Adrian Wyld/Associated Press

Canadian beauty contestant Anastasia Lin, a Falun Gong practioner who has spoken out about human rights abuse, was barred from entering China for a Miss World competition in 2015, and in 2016 was sidelined and barely seen. A text message from her Chinese father asked her to stop speaking out about human rights or he and other relative would suffer.

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