Steveston-Richmond East MP Kenny Chiu held a conference call on Wednesday to pledge his support for an online petition, launched by a local resident, to protest China’s new national security law for Hong Kong.
The law will have many Canadians living "under the dark cloud of fear," said Chiu.
Claiming to criminalize acts of succession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, the law was drafted by Beijing and came into effect June 30.
However, critics say the law’s real intent is to suppress free speech and political decent that could result in offenders facing life imprisonment.
Petition e-2640, initiated by Richmondite Carlo Puche in mid-June and supported by Chiu, calls upon the Canadian government and Canadian citizens to join the international coalition and impose appropriate sanctions against China in response to the passing of the national security law for Hong Kong. The e-petition has garnered more than 3,600 signatures and will remain open until July 15.
Puche, who was born in the Philippines but spent eight years living in Hong Kong, told the Richmond News he feels compelled to speak out about the security law since he has a personal bond with Hong Kong, the place of his childhood memories.
"The very language of the law infringes upon Hong Kong's one country-two systems policy," said Puche, adding that the legislation will punish those advocating for democracy.
Although Puche's family worried about him launching the petition, he said he feels he has to stand up for Hongkongers.
"I hope to encourage Canadians who aren't Hongkongers to consider signing the petition...they deserve to have democracy, which should be something that goes beyond race. I am a Filipino and still talk about this, I hope other Canadians stand up to it as well," said Puche.
Chiu is also concerned about trading relations between Canada and Hong Kong as businesses need to have freedom of information to thrive. He also noted many tech companies in Hong Kong -- including Tik Tok -- are either ceasing operations or working with the Hong Kong government to see how they can be compliant with the security law.
The fate of Hong Kong and Canada is also intertwined, said Chiu, noting that Canada is home to more than 500,000 citizens of Hong Kong descents, while more than 300,000 Canadians reside in Hong Kong.
Chiu added that he will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for the people of Hong Kong.