The senator accused of being a puppet for Beijing stood alongside the Deputy Consul General for the People’s Republic of China at an event celebrating 72 years of Communist rule and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Yuen Pau Woo, a 2016 Justin Trudeau appointee, was the only federal politician at the Oct. 2 ceremony beside the Vancouver 2010 Olympic cauldron on Jack Poole Plaza. It was the day after China’s national day and a week since Meng Wanzhou returned to China and hostages Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to Canada.
Woo, sporting a Chinese Olympic Committee face mask, appeared at a public event in Vancouver for the first time since ex-Conservative cabinet minister and diplomat Chris Alexander publicly called for his resignation. Last June, Woo opposed the two-pronged House of Commons motion that called China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims genocide and asked the International Olympic Committee to find another host city.
The afternoon was officially billed as the 3rd Chinese Culture and Arts Festival. The Chinese flag was raised and national anthem, the March of the Volunteers, sung at the biggest national day-related, outdoor event of its type since 2016’s controversial Vancouver city hall flag plaza ceremony. Co-hosts Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations and the Canada Sichuanese Friendship Association are associated with the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front foreign influence program.
A report by Chinese government-linked Phoenix TV showed Deputy Consul General Wang Chengjun representing Xi Jinping’s government alongside Woo, Richmond Councillors Chak Au and Alexa Loo (a Canadian snowboarder at Vancouver 2010) and Burnaby Coun. James Wang.
Nobody from Vancouver city council attended. Last April, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart suspended meetings with officials from the Chinese government after it sanctioned Canadian politicians like Conservative MP Michael Chong.
Ken Sim, who narrowly lost in 2018 to Stewart, was a guest on stage for the ribbon-cutting. Last spring he announced plans to run again in the October 2022 civic election.
Also spotted in the group photo was Hong Wei “Winnie” Liao, the Respon Wealth Management firm owner, federal Liberal fundraiser and mother of social media influencer triplets. One of them, Yun Lu “Lucy” Li, is charged with boyfriend Oliver Karafa in the early 2021 shooting death of Vancouver’s Tyler Pratt in Hamilton, Ont.
National day celebrations continued Oct. 3 in Vancouver, when a group waving Chinese and Canadian flags and carrying signs and banners marched around Canada Place. Lahoo.ca reported the event organizer, Wu Jiaming of the Canada-China City Friendship Association, wants to reboot sister-city exchanges.
“The obstacles to China have been removed, and it is hoped that the benign interaction between the two countries can continue,” Wu told Lahoo.
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