Steveston-Richmond East MP Kenny Chiu is among a growing list of politicians sanctioned by the People’s Republic of China.
Chiu told the Richmond News that he was overwhelmed with both sadness and pride after learning he won’t be able to visit his birthplace of Hong Kong anymore.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced sanctions against Canadian and US individuals and entities, such as Member of Parliament of Canada Michael Chong and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights (SDIR).
Michael Chong was specifically named by the Chinese government in the release provided by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a vice-chair of the sub-committee, Chiu is also on the sanction list.
“I feel a mix of emotions of sadness and pride. Sadness in that it’s my birthplace, and the fact that I have been sanctioned from visiting my birthplace would trouble anybody. On the other hand, I’ve been sanctioned for my role on the SDIR as a parliamentarian. I have immense pride in being punished by China for speaking the truth as a parliamentarian,” said Chiu.
“The individuals concerned are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the relevant individuals and having exchanges with the relevant entity,” reads the statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
These sanctions are in response to sanctions imposed by Canada and the US on individuals and entities in the Xinjiang region for human rights violations against Uighur Muslims.
The statement added that officials from Canada and the US must stop political manipulation of the Xinjiang-related issues and stop interfering in any way in China’s internal affairs.
Chiu said he knows there is a price to pay for calling on the Canadian government to take a tough stance against human rights abuses by the Chinese government. However, if he doesn’t stand up or speak out for those Uighurs who have suffered in China, then who will?
In February, The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to pass a Conservative motion to declare the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighurs met the definition of genocide set out in the 1948 United Nations’ Genocide Convention.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all but one of his cabinet ministers were absent for the vote, while Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau abstained on behalf of the government.
Chiu also noted that it’s hard to figure out the logic behind China's sanctions on SDIR.
“However, the sanctions on Canada are weird — Michael Chong isn’t in any government capacity and he isn’t a minister yet. The same thing for SDIR because everybody is acting as a parliamentarian, we are all representing the people’s voice instead of the government.
“If the Chinese government wants to dump their rage and anger at someone, they should sanction the entire house of commons, including 380 MPs. The reason why they focus on SDIR is hard to find out,” said Chiu.