Where have the anti-racists gone?

Montreal-based publisher and author Robin Philpot wrote the following article, Canada-China: Where have the anti-racists gone,” concerning the wave of fearmongering about China that is already having negative impacts on Asian-Canadians.

This article, below, is a machine-translation of the original French article.

Canada-China: Where have the anti-racists gone?

by Robin Philpot

Where are the anti-racists in Canada when we really need them? This is a question that jumps out at you when you see a campaign of fear – and hatred – unfolding against Canadian citizens of Chinese origin and against China. This campaign is led mainly by two Canadian media, the so-called reference newspaper The Globe and Mail and Global News. They are fed almost daily by anonymous sources within the Canadian spy service, CSIS. It is caught on the leap and amplified by the vast majority of Canadian parliamentarians.

There are, fortunately, a few voices rising to name it correctly. Including Independent Senator from British Columbia, The Honorable Yuen Pau Woo. In a recent letter to Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino, he says:

“  [T]he persistent questioning of the loyalty of Chinese Canadians, based on little or no evidence, is laced with racism. It is shameful that political leaders on all sides have supported and encouraged the slander and innuendo perpetrated by irresponsible and unprincipled journalists . »

The role of CSIS is perplexing. For months now, serious allegations have been made from “top secret” documents that no one has seen except a few journalists. Politicians are asking for more citing these anonymous sources as the gospel. Sometimes we are told that it is the secret services of “our allies” of the Five Eyes who provide CSIS with their spy reports on “suspicious” activities of Chinese officials or Canadian citizens. (I would have to have someone explain to me why this is not considered foreign interference.)

To get an idea of ​​where this is going, one need only read the text of what could be described as the unofficial CSIS spokesman, Richard Fadden, who offered his opinion in the Globe and Mail of May 9. Director of CSIS under former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper before serving as his national security adviser, Richard Fadden succeeded in getting highly contested additional powers granted (Bill C-51) just before his boss’ defeat in 2015 .

In his article, Fadden offers a range of measures to contain “Chinese interference” which he says has been going on for decades. In addition to the creation of a register of foreign agents, which would mimic that of the United States and Australia, he proposes in particular to close the supposed “police stations” in Beijing and to “look closely at the other Chinese organizations which could  serve as screens for the Chinese Communist Party  “. No, it’s not from Joe McCarthy!

Based on a report by an obscure NGO called Safeguard Defenders based in Spain, social service centers serving Chinese communities in Quebec and Canada have been falsely renamed “police stations”. And since being renamed like this without any proof, these centers have seen their public funding cut and some of their leaders losing their jobs and, therefore, their reputation.

Indeed, the case of these service centers, which in some cases have existed for 50 years, is a clear warning.

When the former director of CSIS says that we must now take a closer look at “the other Chinese organizations”, he invites the political authorities, the media, the police and the entire population to be wary, to be afraid and to disdain their fellow citizens of Chinese origin and their social and cultural organizations.

All this happens exactly 100 years after the adoption in Canada of a law on Chinese immigration. This is what Senator Woo says:

Ironically, discussions around a register of foreign influences are taking place on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the Chinese Immigration Law. At the time, Chinese activists used to call it the “Chinese Exclusion Act” because of the near-total ban on Chinese immigration to Canada between 1923 and 1947. But they would have might as well have called it the “Chinese Registration Act”, as the law required all Chinese in Canada to register within 12 months of its enactment, or face fines, jail and/or imprisonment. ‘expulsion. Even after registering, Chinese in Canada were subject to the humiliation of constant harassment from law enforcement officials,

There are other dark sides to Canada’s relationship with China and the Chinese that nobody wants to remember. Canada still honors everywhere Lord Elgin, who in the mid-19th century was British Governor General of Canada. Lakes, major arteries including one in the heart of Ottawa, capital of Canada, regions bear his name. It was this same Lord Elgin who, in 1860, ordered the sacking and looting of the Summer Palace in Beijing, which Victor Hugo described as a ”  wonder of the world .” »

”  This marvel has disappeared,” writes Hugo. (…) What we did at the Parthenon, we did at the Summer Palace, more completely and better, so as to leave nothing behind. All the treasures of all our cathedrals put together would not equal this splendid and formidable museum of the Orient. (…) We Europeans are the civilized, and for us the Chinese are the barbarians. This is what civilization has done to barbarism.  »

If the past is any guarantee of the future, anti-racists in Canada will have their work cut out for them.

While racism is on everyone’s lips of well-meaning organizations in Canada, their current deafening silence suggests the fear of being cut off from funding has also made them lose their voice.

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