The Steveston-Richmond East Conservative incumbent sanctioned by the Chinese Communist government is the target of a disinformation campaign on WeChat, the Beijing-monitored social media app.
Kenny Chiu said a story on the Today Commercial News channel is falsely claiming that his Foreign Influence Registry bill would “suppress the Chinese community.”
The bill, similar to a 1938 law to regulate foreign lobbying in the U.S., passed first reading. However, it died on the order paper when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election on Aug. 15 and dissolved parliament. Chiu hopes voters return him to Ottawa in the Sept. 20 federal election so that he can reintroduce the bill.
The story in the Markham, Ont.-based publication calls Hong Kong-born Chiu “anti-China” and claims the bill’s purpose is to “curb any pro-Chinese speech in Canada, and to control and monitor various mainland groups and individuals.”
Chiu said that is wrong. The bill he tabled proposed a requirement for people acting on behalf of foreign governments to register and report when they lobby public officials in a bid to enact or amend a law or to seek a contract or a grant. Chiu’s bill proposed fines up to $200,000 and jail up to two years for breaking the law.
“It can’t be more innocuous and simple,” Chiu told theBreaker.news. “You can continue to do whatever you want, but if you’re influencing government officials on behalf of foreign countries, you need to register.
“We have our country to defend, that is Canada. As Canadians of Chinese descent, we have loyalty to our country.”
In its most-recent annual report, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians called spying and meddling by foreign countries, mainly China and Russia, the biggest threats to Canada.
The Chinese Communist Party is of particular concern because of its network of business and cultural groups under its United Front Work Department foreign influence operation. A report by Australian researcher Alex Joske said United Front “undermines social cohesion, exacerbates racial tension, influences politics, harms media integrity, facilitates espionage, and increases unsupervised technology transfer.”
Until the election, Chiu was vice-chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights. In March, China sanctioned committee members, including Chiu, and fellow Conservative MP Michael Chong in retaliation for Canada sanctioning individuals and entities for human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.
That move followed February’s unanimous declaration by MPs that China is committing genocide in Xinjiang and recommended the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics be moved elsewhere. The Liberal cabinet, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, abstained from the vote.
In 2019, Chiu defeated Liberal MP and real estate lawyer Joe Peschisolido. theBreaker.news exclusively revealed that Peschisolido’s 2019 campaign team included Eileen Chen, the co-organizer of an August 2019 Chinese nationalist protest in Vancouver aimed at silencing local supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
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