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HomeBusinessAnti-hate rally organizer’s WeChat group rife with messages supporting China’s Xinjiang repression

Anti-hate rally organizer’s WeChat group rife with messages supporting China’s Xinjiang repression


Bob Mackin

The organizers of a March 28 rally billed as “Stop Asian Hate” announced on Facebook that Liberal cabinet minister Joyce Murray would be among the speakers.

Joyce Murray, the Trudeau Liberals’ minister of digital government (WeChat)

Murray has not responded to about her participation in the protest at the Vancouver Art Gallery or the lead organizer, Asian Canadian Equity Alliance Association.

ACEA says it is holding the event to mourn the six Asian massage parlour workers gunned down March 16 in Atlanta and to oppose racism against Asian people. However, its group on China’s state-monitored WeChat app includes multiple messages supporting the mass-incarceration of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province. 

Vancouver Quadra MP Murray is the minister for digital government in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, which abstained en masse from a House of Commons vote critical of the Chinese Communist Party last month. Murray has previously taken positions on high profile international human rights issues, from apartheid to anti-semitism. 

The Conservative-tabled motion passed 266-0, with support from all parties, to declare China is committing genocide against Uighur Muslims and to call on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Games out of Beijing.

On March 21, Canada joined the United States and United Kingdom to sanction four CCP officials and a security agency, citing evidence from Chinese government documents, satellite imagery and eyewitness testimony. “China’s extensive program of repression includes severe restrictions on religious freedoms, the use of forced labour, mass detention in internment camps, forced sterilizations, and the concerted destruction of Uighur heritage,” read a joint statement.

Notice for March 28 rally in Vancouver, with ACEA/MLARA logos

If Murray attends, she will be publicly aligning herself with an ACEA ally that she disavowed in May 2020. Maple Leafs Anti-Racism Alliance (MLARA) used Murray’s WeChat group to raise funds for a class-action lawsuit against Global journalist Sam Cooper. MLARA claimed to be offended by Cooper’s story about the Chinese government’s international effort to hoard personal protective equipment, which led to scarcity at Canadian hospitals as the coronavirus pandemic hit. No lawsuit was filed.

The supporter, Maria Xu, is a Liberal donor who used her photograph with Trudeau as her avatar. Xu was eventually banned from Murray’s WeChat group after her fundraising solicitation gained national media attention, including a debate in Question Period.

MLARA incorporated May 14, 2020 with three directors: Royal Pacific Realty agents Morning Li Huimin and Jason Xie Sheng, and Ivan Ngai Pak, a former People’s Party of Canada candidate. Morning Li’s moving company was hired to deliver PPE to and from the Chinese consular mansion in Vancouver last spring.

ACEA registered June 29, 2020, the week after a University of B.C. Okanagan nursing student’s police brutality lawsuit against the RCMP went public. ACEA organized protests in support of Mona Wang, but has been relatively quiet until this week. The Association was registered at the Richmond address of Guo Law Corporation and one of its directors was listed as Hong Chen, the alternate name of lawyer Hong Guo.

The real estate and immigration lawyer finished fourth in the Richmond mayoralty election in 2018 on a platform to forge closer ties with China. In an interview with during her campaign, Guo said China has not committed any human rights abuses and claimed media coverage about Uighur Muslim concentration camps in Xinjiang was false.

From the ACEA WeChat group (WeChat)

Guo is a former lawyer in the Chinese government’s state council and her website says she maintains a law office in Beijing. Last November, the Law Society of B.C. ruled that she committed professional misconduct over handling of clients’ funds. It is applying to revoke her licence to practice law in B.C. Guo has not responded for comment.

The Guo-established ACEA WeChat group has featured numerous messages this week echoing Chinese government statements supporting the internment of Uighurs. Messages were posted by users in both Canada and China. It also contains a link to a Zoom discussion among left-wing peace activists in Hamilton, Ont. and the Chinese consul general for Calgary aimed at refuting western media overage of Xinjiang.

An Australian think tank’s report published last year described how the Chinese government runs a campaign to meddle in western countries, promote CCP positions and stoke divisions within Chinese communities.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s report, The Party Speaks For You: Foreign Interference and the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front System, said the CCP exports its political system by reaching into foreign political parties, diaspora communities and multinational corporations.

Wrote researcher Alex Joske: “This undermines social cohesion, exacerbates racial tension, influences politics, harms media integrity, facilitates espionage, and increases unsupervised technology transfer.”

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