An incumbent Trudeau Liberal MP’s campaign team includes a prominent member of the Chinese nationalist group that demonstrated outside a Vancouver transit station last month.
theBreaker.news has confirmed that Eileen Chen is the events assistant in the Chinese community for Steveston-East Richmond candidate Joe Peschisolido. Chen attended Peschisolido’s Sept. 15 Liberal campaign office opening where she coordinated photographs of Peschisolido and supporters.
On Aug. 17, outside the Broadway-City Hall Canada Line station, Chen stood in the front row of the mob that sang the People’s Republic of China’s national anthem, waved brand new flags and professionally printed signs, and hurled insults at local supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.
Chen is the chief executive of a Richmond event production and advertising company called CYC Royal International Culture Group Co. (aka Haoyu International), which also has offices in Hangzhou and Liaoning, China. Haoyu’s Chinese-only website includes photographs of Chen with officials from China’s Vancouver consulate. An English translation of the Haoyu website says the company’s services include cultural exchanges, project planning, business exhibitions, film and TV shoots and advertising.
Chen did not respond to theBreaker.news request for comment. Likewise, Peschisolido did not reply to queries on Aug. 24 and Sept. 16.
theBreaker.news independently confirmed that Peschisolido’s assistant, Michael Wong, was aware that Chen participated in the Aug. 17 protest. On that day, Chen was joined by Haoyu’s chief technology officer, Adamas Kou.
The website for the Shanxi Province branch of the Communist Party’s Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese credited the Canada Vancouver Shanxi Natives Society and director Cao Zhen Yu for coordinating what it called a “solidarity gathering.”
Independent watchdog Dermod Travis of IntegrityBC called the situation irregular and inappropriate.
“Individuals who want to participate in Canadian political affairs need to follow Canada’s foreign policy line, not their own individual foreign policy lines,” Travis said. “And there has been too much interference by [People’s Republic of China]-backed organizations in B.C. and Toronto. If the U.S. were doing it, we would be in an uproar. It’s time that Canadians be in an uproar when the P.R.C. does it.”
Peschisolido has been a magnet for controversy since his 2015 election in Steveston-Richmond East. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not appoint him to cabinet, but he does co-chair the Canada-China Legislative Association.
It took until December 2017, more than two years since he won the riding, for Peschisolido to decide to wind-down his law firm. In August, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion confirmed that he was investigating a Conservative complaint alleging that Peschisolido failed to disclose that the B.C. Law Society had appointed a custodian in April.
Last month, Peschisolido filed papers in B.C. Supreme Court in an attempt to distance himself from a lawsuit involving a former client of his law firm. The B.C. Securities Commission found in 2017 that Paul Oei had defrauded investors for $5 million.
In July, Peschisolido denied that his law firm helped mask an alleged gangster’s $7.8 million stake in a Coquitlam property through a bare trust, claiming he did not deal with Kwok Chung Tam in any capacity.
Last year, Peschisolido was photographed at social events with People’s Liberation Army veteran Rongxiang “Tiger” Yuan and Paul King Jin, the banned-from-B.C.-casinos Richmond man accused of money laundering. In a July statement, Peschisolido denied knowing Yuan and Jin.
“In all my duties, I have always conducted myself with utmost integrity and professionalism,” Peschisolido said in a July statement.
In September 2016, Peschisolido apologized for wearing a Communist Young Pioneers scarf at a Vancouver city hall celebration of China’s national day. He later said he regretted wearing the symbol of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.
Peschisolido’s main challenger in the Oct. 21 election is Conservative Kenny Chiu, the 2015 runner-up by 2,856 votes.
“I’m astounded that the Liberal Party of Canada has allowed him to run for re-election under their banner,” he said. “Nominations aren’t closed [until month-end]. They still have an opportunity to put that right.”
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