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

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

Hardy Bay Seniors’ Centre doubling down to build community during COVID-19

The volunteer-run group is cooking meals and checking in on isolated seniors

Three weekly direct flights from Port Hardy to Vancouver starting June 1

Direct between Bella Bella and Vancouver not resuming at this time

UPDATE: Local taxi company applying to opertate north island bus route

Waivin’ Flags Taxi wants to operate Route 5 between Cambpell River and Port Hardy

Change in service: Port Hardy is switching from bi-weekly garbage pick up to weekly schedule

The cost for the weekly garbage pick up service is an additional $30.12 annually.

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Most Read