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HomeBusinessExclusive: NDP minister a hypocrite for Remembrance Day pose with Chinese diplomat

Exclusive: NDP minister a hypocrite for Remembrance Day pose with Chinese diplomat


Bob Mackin

A human rights activist calls a B.C. NDP cabinet minister a hypocrite for posing with a Chinese diplomat at a Remembrance Day ceremony.

Tourism Minister and Vancouver East MLA Melanie Mark Tweeted four photos from the Chinatown Memorial Monument and wrote that she was “honouring and recognizing veterans of the Chinese community who fought/served for justice, for our freedom, to protect our shared values.”

NDP cabinet minister Melanie Mark with People’s Republic of China consul general Tong Xiaoling on Remembrance Day 2021 (Melanie Mark/Twitter)

In one photograph, Mark is side-by-side with Tong Xiaoling, the Consul General for the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver.

Ivy Li of the Canadian Friends of Hong Kong said it was a “huge insult” to Canadian veterans of all ethnicities who fought to protect Canadians’ rights, freedoms and sovereignty.

“Does Minister Mark consider the Chinese consulate to represent the Chinese community in Canada? Does the B.C. government forget that the Chinese consulates in Canada are here to represent the government of the People’s Republic of China, not our Chinese-Canadian community?” Li said.

Tong laid a wreath at the monument during the ceremony, which was featured on a pro-CCP Phoenix TV newscast. The consulate’s ornate wreath was placed on an easel, elevated above all the others, including one from City of Vancouver. Tong ultimately represents the Chinese Communist Party, which Li said is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims, has decimated Tibetan culture, took away Hong Kongers’ basic liberties and is now threatening to invade Taiwan.

“This not only makes [Mark’s] claim disingenuous and hypocritical, but it is also totally inappropriate,” Li said. “Why a genocidal and civil rights and freedom-suppressing regime has anything to do with honouring our veterans who died for our freedom? Why an aggressive, dictatorial regime who is threatening an invasion of a democratic country has anything to do with honouring our veterans who died in defending our sovereignty?”

(Melanie Mark/Twitter) wanted Mark’s comment on the optics of posing with Western Canada’s highest-ranking representative of Xi Jinping. Instead of responding, Mark referred to a tourism ministry representative’s prepared statement.

“China has maintained a long-standing consular presence in Vancouver. It is a normal courtesy to acknowledge accredited foreign diplomats,” the statement read. “Canada-China relations are the responsibility of the federal government.”

In February, the House of Commons, including the entire NDP caucus, voted unanimously to declare China is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims, and called on the International Olympic Committee to move the February 2022 Winter Olympics out of Beijing. 

Last month, the Esquimalt-based, Royal Canadian Navy vessel HMCS Winnipeg sailed through the Taiwan Strait. The mission was part of an allied operation to deter China from invading Taiwan, one of the few democracies led by a woman. Xi considers it a rebel province and has not ruled out a military takeover. On the consulate’s website, Tong opposes Vancouver city hall’s potential twinning with Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and calls the island a “region [that] is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”

NDP cabinet ministers George Chow (left) and Melanie Mark flanking China’s consul general Tong Xiaoling at the Nov. 5 opening of the Chinatown Story Centre. (Twitter/Melanie Mark)

Li wonders why the NDP has not learned from the events of the last three years, including China’s 2018 kidnapping of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and the failure in late 2019 to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan. Beijing targets western politicians, who are prime targets of the CCP’s United Front foreign influence program, which includes currying favour with indigenous leaders in order to gain access to their natural resources. Li noted that Mark is a member of the Nisga’a nation.

Mark’s friendly pose with Tong is part of a pattern by B.C. NDP politicians of engagement with CCP interests. Minister of State for Trade George Chow recently appeared with officials from the consulate and the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations at Golden Week events in early October marking 72 years of Communist rule. One of them was a Beijing Olympics countdown promotion on Jack Poole Plaza.

Chow and Mark appeared together with Tong at the Nov. 5 opening of the Chinatown Story Centre.

In 2019, Mark’s predecessor, Lisa Beare, posed in a group photo with accused money launderer Paul King Jin at a Richmond gym he operated. In 2020, the NDP government briefly gave Jin’s son a licence to operate a security company out of the same address.

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