The co-founder of Vancouver Chinese Human Rights Watch Group said he is disappointed, but not surprised, that an advertisement critical of China was defaced in Richmond.
“Our goal is to let many immigrants from China know, especially Mainland China, to remind them that democracy, freedom is very important,” said Louis Huang. “This is where we live, this is why leave our country and come to Canada.”
The ad, which mentions this year’s 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, is on a No. 3 Road Coast Mountain Bus Co. shelter near Westminster Highway. On Aug. 23, someone plastered ripped pages of newspapers overtop the poster, which contains images of the iconic “tank man” from 1989, the Goddess of Democracy and China surrounded by flames. Crews cleaned-up the mess later in the day.
The poster debuted at a bus shelter on No. 3 Road near Blundell last winter and Huang said it prompted angry phone calls from supporters of the Chinese government. He suggests the timing of the vandalism is not coincidental, after last weekend’s sudden display of nationalism by a well-organized, pro-China mob that aimed to counter protests in Vancouver by supporters of Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
“Many things happen in Vancouver, you can see so many national flags, the red wave on our streets, which is, from my point of view, a direct threat to our country,” Huang said. “A direct threat to our democracy and freedom and human rights.”
One of those protests took place outside a church near Vancouver city hall on Aug. 18 where people came to pray for peace and justice in Hong Kong. Vancouver Police officers were called to guard the doors and escort worshippers. Meanwhile, the pro-China activists showed their new flags and manufactured signs while photographing prayer meeting attendees.
Most of the nationalists appeared to be students in their 20s and 30s. The worshippers were middle aged and senior citizens.
“This is the direct proof of their influence,” Huang said. “Not only on our economy, but more dangerously our politicians.”
While mass-protests continue in Hong Kong, China is gearing-up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Huang said he left China for Australia in 1998 and has lived in Canada since 2002. He has protested in support of jailed Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to the steps of the Law Courts in Vancouver during court appearances by Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
The United States wants Meng extradited to face fraud charges. Kovrig and Spavor were arrested in China last December in retaliation for Meng’s Dec. 1 arrest at Vancouver International Airport. Meng lives on $10 million bail at a Shaughnessy mansion.
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