Edward Liu, a Richmond resident recently nominated for the BC Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards, has been accused of holding a discriminative view towards sexual minorities.
Liu, who is also the sub-editor and columnist of the Metro Vancouver edition of Sing Tao Daily, a Chinese-language daily newspaper, has denied the accusation.
Liu received the nomination earlier this month for his work in organizing an anti-racism rally in Richmond in 2016 and speaking in front of 4,000 people at a major anti-racist demonstration in Vancouver.
However, in an open letter sent to the minister of B.C. Tourism, Arts and Culture last week, North Vancouver resident Samson Kong said Liu’s editorial pieces on a number of Hong Kong religious websites in Chinese (not the Sing Tao) shows his “discriminative views” regarding sexual minorities.
“...it will be highly inappropriate and really unfortunate if the nominee Edward Liu is made a recipient of the BC Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award,” Kong wrote in the letter.
Kong pointed to a 2013 article Liu published on the Christian Times website, which warned that the Hong Kong government should be “very cautious” on the then hotly debated sexual orientation discrimination legislation.
“(Some) are worried that there will be serious ‘reverse discrimination’ after the legislation, which will erode other core values of Hong Kong, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and will bring the brainwashing education of homosexuality to the school,” wrote Liu in translated Chinese.
“Such worries are actually not unfounded. It is a process I have witnessed in Canada over the past two decades.”
Liu also stated that, after same-sex marriage was recognized in Canada, “the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman has disintegrated, the gender boundary has been dismantled and the (partner) number limit of traditional marriage has begun to be challenged.”
In another article Liu wrote in 2012 for The Gospel Herald in Chinese, he said the Bill C-279 introduced to Ottawa, to add gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Criminal Code, “protects the human rights of people with psychological gender changes on the surface, but in fact opens the door to sexual harassment of women” and “causes distress to the public.”
“If Bill C-279 is passed, a man only needs to claim he is a woman at the moment, then theoretically he is protected by the human rights law, and can freely get access to female washrooms and changing rooms,” wrote Liu.
Liu: I'm not against anyone
Liu doesn’t deny his earlier writings, but he does deny they are discriminatory towards LGBTQ2+ people. Rather, he claims he was just trying to talk about possible problems in society if such a policy was implemented in Hong Kong.
“My focus was always about policy and what is good for the community...not just a so-called standpoint,” said Liu.
Liu added that he was contacted by the editor of the religious publications in question to write something about the sexual orientation discrimination legislation debate in Hong Kong at the time.
“Someone said that’s absolutely good, that’s why the editor said (to me), ‘is there any potential consequences to those policies if we don’t write it carefully?’” said Liu.
“I’m not against anyone. If you read the article, you will see it’s just about the policy and what could be the potential problems.
“And the conclusion is, we should open up the forum to let people have more discussions, instead of saying this is the only view on the issue.”
Award committee: It is extremely disappointing
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture responded to the Richmond News regarding the letter on Monday.
“It is extremely disappointing that a nominee may have made statements or written articles that run contrary to the principles of an inclusive society,” said the ministry in a statement.
“Inclusion and respect for all British Columbians, including members of B.C.’s LGBTQ2+ communities, is a fundamental principle of this government.”
Award winners will be announced on Thursday, March 21.