Coalition decries Canada’s ‘piecemeal’ response to Beijing-sponsored intimidation


OTTAWA — A human rights coalition is calling on Canada to appoint a front-line contact for people and groups enduring harassment and intimidation due to their advocacy and activism on China.

The Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China says in a report released today that activists in Canada are increasingly facing interference for raising awareness of serious rights issues in China.

The coalition, which includes Amnesty International Canada, says Chinese authorities have exerted influence within various communities in Canada, including on elected officials, in Chinese-Canadian media outlets, through social media and at academic institutions.

The coalition says the proposed new point person or body within the Canadian government could receive complaints, collect data about specific incidents, analyze trends and co-ordinate a response to instances of harassment.

It says cases of possible criminal activity could then be referred to law enforcement and action could be taken against select Chinese diplomats.

Asked about allegations of Chinese interference today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will continue to protect the right to free speech and protest here and around the world.