Members of Vancouver’s Uyghur community protested outside Premier John Horgan’s riding office April 12, to support the decision not to keep a controversial ex-judge as an advisor.
Kabir Qurban, a Simon Fraser University student, took time-off studying for exams to travel to the capital with six others after officials said Bill Yee will not remain on the Premier’s Chinese-Canadian Community Advisory Committee.
Yee’s March 30 interview on a Toronto Cantonese radio program enraged groups concerned with China’s human rights abuses, because Yee denied China is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
“When we heard he was taken out of power we were very happy, and in order to show them we were happy, we want to show up and let them know hey we’re here,” Qurban said. “Whenever you do something for the Uyghur people, whenever you support the Uyghur people, there is a beneficial party.”
Canada’s House of Commons voted 266-0 in February to declare China is committing genocide against Uyghurs, citing evidence of mass-detention, forced labour and other human rights violations from Chinese government documents, intelligence agencies and eyewitness testimony. In March, Canada sanctioned several Chinese govenment officials along with the U.S. and U.K., a move that sparked Yee to speak out.
Qurban and the group rallied outside the Parliament Buildings and Horgan’s electoral district office in Langford. The rally came four days after the group released a letter, signed by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clerics in B.C., that denounced Yee for “lacking basic human empathy towards the plight of victims but at the same time factually erroneous and misleading.”
“Thousands of Uyghur Canadians do not have any means of communication with their parents and loved ones and China blocked and cut off all channels of family bonds,” said the letter.
Qurban said the group is also concerned with Yee and others who propagate Chinese Communist Party messages and meddle with politics and China’s diaspora in Canada.
“We’re not too happy with that, especially as Canadian citizens on indigenous territory, running away from our own indigenous territory,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese-Canadian Human Rights Concern Group said April 14 that one of its members complained to the RCMP about death threats by text and phone on April 11. It appealed for help from Solicitor General Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby, after it claimed the RCMP did not do enough to investigate.
The 13-member group had written an open letter on April 7 that was critical of the CCP and called for Yee’s firing from the 2018-announced, NDP government committee. The group did not make the victim of the death threats available for an interview and declined to publicly identify the RCMP detachment that handled the complaint.
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