Organizer Fennela Sung speaks to dozens of people protesting the Chinese consulate reception at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

‘Shame on you’: Demonstrators protest China-sponsored reception at UBCM

Protestors point to detained Canadians and a harsh crackdown on Hong Kong

“Shame on you! Shame on you!”

Those were the words of dozens who gathered outside the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver Wednesday evening to protest the Chinese consulate reception taking place at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

The protest was organized by the Canadian Friends of Hong Kong and was sparked by worsening relations between Canada and China.

“Canadians including Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavrog are being held hostage in Beijing,” organizer Fenella Sung told the crowd.

“For UBCM to accept funding from the Chinese consulate is a total betrayal of Canadian voters.”

The UBCM accepts $6,000 from the Chinese government to run the event, which has been an annual fixture at the convention since at least 2013.

Relations between the two countries began to worsen after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was detained by Canadian authorities at the Vancouver airport in December. She is currently facing extradition to the United States where she is wanted for allegedly defrauding multiple financial institutions in a breach of U.S.-imposed bans on dealings with Iran.

Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, and Spavor, a consultant, were detained by Chinese authorities later that month.

READ MORE: Consular officials visit Canadian Michael Kovrig detained in China

Sung also took aim at other Chinese government actions, including the harsh crackdown on Hong Kong protestors and Uyghur internment camps, as well as their influence on Canadian politics.

“We must ask mayors and councillors: while sipping communist China’s wine under the pretext of relationship building, will you say you are not influenced at all? Are you not persuaded to look at them with another lens?” Sung asked.

“Have you thought about the implication of the Chinese Communist Party’s red money that floods our housing.”

READ MORE: Municipal leaders support banning foreign sponsorship of UBCM amid worsening China relations

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, who has been outspoken against the Chinese consulate reception at UBCM, said not attending the reception was a “matter of principle” for him.

“There is nothing right about taking a financial contribution from a foreign government that is engaged in actions that are completely hostile to the interests of our country and our people, that are repressing their own people

that have millions of Uyghurs locked up in modern-day concentration camps and are brutally cracking down on people in Hong Kong,” West said.

“I feel confident in telling you this is the last time this immoral, embarrassing event is going to take place.”

Following his speech, West and other elected officials, including others from Port Coquitlam and some from White Rock and Revelstoke, took two boxes of Timbits inside the reception.

Protestors had asked West to give the Timbits to Chinese consulate officials to give to Kovrig and Spavor. The boxes were not accepted, and security cleared them from where West left them at the door.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Literacy Week coming to Trail: Make reading time, family time

Family Literacy Week in B.C. runs Jan. 26 to Feb. 2

The Voice of Raisin: A whiff down memory lane

The Trail Times is introducing a new column. Benjamin Howard recently moved… Continue reading

Rossland council okays temp shelter for local man

Garry Camozzi can stay in the trailer until October 2020

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

New York county gave Salmo River canyon its name

Place Names: Shenango Canyon, Sheep Creek City, Beaverville

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Most Read