‘People got furious’: City hall events to mark founding of Communist China cancelled

Tom BlackwellTom Blackwell

The three events were organized by a group whose leader has echoed a key demand of the Chinese government — the speedy release of Meng Wanzhou

Two city-hall ceremonies to mark the founding of Communist China this weekend were cancelled at the last minute, as controversy continued over how the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic was to be celebrated in Canada — if at all.

The flag-raising events planned for Richmond Hill and Vaughan, both suburban municipalities north of Toronto with large Chinese-Canadian populations, were called off amid angry complaints from groups supporting protesters in Hong Kong.

A third in nearby Markham, Ont., went ahead on Saturday, with speeches from Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Chinese consul general Han Tao.

All three were organized by a group whose leader has in the past echoed a key demand of the Chinese government, calling for the speedy release of Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive arrested at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

Meanwhile, Chinese-language media coverage revealed that a second Liberal cabinet member — Mary Ng — spoke at a 70th-anniversary dinner last week. Harjit Sajjan, defence minister, appeared at a celebration in Vancouver, though said he did so as a candidate and didn’t stay long.

Such events have been held in past years, and many municipalities allow community groups to hold flag-raising parties at city halls on the national day of their countries of origin.

But the China events have been particularly contentious this year in the face of Canada’s bitter diplomatic feud with Beijing, the mass protests in Hong Kong and growing concern about human-rights abuses in China.

Two Canadians have been imprisoned by Chinese authorities on ill-defined espionage charges in what is widely considered a tit-for-tat response to Meng’s arrest.

“While our Canadian citizens have been bullied, while our country has been bullied by this totalitarian regime, why should we still continue with this kind of celebratory event?” asked Gloria Fung, head of the group Canada-Hong Kong Link. “Our politicians need to show a higher level of political wisdom, to understand what not to do on Canadian soil.”

Before this weekend, flag raising ceremonies to commemorate the 70th anniversary had already been held in at least two Ontario cities, as well as at the Ontario legislature, and locations in B.C.. At Toronto City Hall, Mayor John Tory refused to take part, citing tensions between the two countries.

full story at https://nationalpost.com/news/ontario-celebrations-of-communist-chinas-founding-cancelled-after-outcry-from-hong-kong-protest-supporters

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