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View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much to our witnesses. You've presented a number of excellent points today, and some good recommendations.
Professor Ong, I'm curious to get to some more of your thinking. You seem to be at least partially hopeful that there is an ability to reverse the takeover we're now seeing in Hong Kong. You said that it will take time, but you seem to hold out that hope. Could you address that briefly?
If that's the case, should we view Hong Kong not so much by going back to the Cold War but as a Poland, going forward, with that resilience we all know is alive in Hong Kong in the people? Could you comment on your reasons for hope?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Yes, I think that's a good point.
I'm going to turn now to Professor Medeiros.
I take your point that what we're seeing in Hong Kong is not a prelude to war and that we have to be careful. Not only does Canada have about 300,000 citizens in the territory, but there are millions of like-minded friends in Hong Kong, literally millions. I think the talk of a cold war is overstated because of, as Mr. Cheung just said, the ethnonationalism we see on display in China.
I'd like your thoughts. Should we think of what we're seeing in Asia now as more akin to what we saw with respect to Imperial Japan: a nationalist population and government, an expansionary state and a military regime that does not have civilian oversight? If that's the case, should the attention now not turn completely to Taiwan? Taiwan is the nation island. China wants it, and it has long made this clear. Do we not need to stick together on this, particularly with the Taiwan Defence Act in the United States? If this is not managed properly, unlike Hong Kong, this could lead to a real clash in the South China Sea.
Could I get your comments on that? You have just over a minute to respond.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
To our witnesses, thank you for joining us today. You've all added some really solid and good information, as well as insights.
I'll start with Ms. Sharon Hom.
First, thank you for stiffening my spine. Sometimes my questions are rhetorical, but it's always good to hear the reasons for hope and the reasons why we need to do more, not less, for the people of Hong Kong, while we also consider how best to help our friends in neighbouring Taiwan.
I thought earlier today that Professor Ong had some really good points about Hong Kong still being the golden goose for mainland officials and for the country. This means the territory is not going to suddenly or quickly—or even, perhaps, gradually—become just another Chinese city, because of the wealth and prosperity that would be lost. This will benefit both dissidents and activists in Hong Kong to continue their struggle for freedom and human rights.
You asked for a few minutes. Could you maybe give us in 90 seconds all the things you wanted to say but didn't have a chance to? I will cut you off after 90 seconds because I, too, am on the clock and under the mindful eye of our own Big Brother here.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
I'll have to cut you off in about 15 seconds, but go ahead.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you.
Professor Kaeding, I thought your insight was unique. You provided a possible glimpse into the thinking of mainland officials. The point you made that Beijing cannot be trusted has some serious implications, because if a partner cannot be trusted, that means they have to be dealt with as untrustworthy.
What, then, should Canada's policy be? Should it be, then, for Canadian trading, to have commercial relations with both mainland China and Hong Kong, but also have the internal fortitude to denounce and speak out when Beijing is out of step, something that unfortunately we're not seeing now? Is it the combination of both trade, which is mutually beneficial to both parties, and speaking out, finding our voice in Canada and perhaps following in the footsteps of Australia and some of the other Asian nations that are closer to mainland China? What say you to that?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Right. That would mean, of course, that when you speak out, there might be some blowback on commercial relations, but that's just the price of standing up.
Basically, Mr. Chatigny, you do not believe there is much that Canada or its allies can do to change Beijing. Did I understand you correctly?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you very much.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have many questions; I'm going to jump right in.
Professor Davis, I'm going to try to summarize your testimony and responses.
You talked of media raids, likening it to fishing, which left a chilling impact, of course, on other activists and reporters; rigged elections; handpicked judges; a chief executive overseeing the security apparatus, at least outside that of the mainland officials; secret star chambers; the rule of law in Hong Kong being replaced by rule by law, or whatever we say, from officials in Beijing; and a secret police that sounds an awful lot like what we saw in East Germany, the Stasi.
Should we begin to think of Hong Kong going forward as a quasi-east Germany, Poland, Hungary, the eastern European bloc nations? It's a territory now firmly under the control of Beijing's rule. What say you to that characteristic, looking back in time, in terms of the threat to the people of Hong Kong?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Ms. Go, I'll come to you in a second. I have a couple of questions here but I want to go in order. I appreciate your eagerness.
Professor Davis, as a legal scholar who knows Hong Kong international law, what would your advice be to this committee and its members? Should we consider holding hearings in Hong Kong? What would your advice be to us as federal lawmakers in our standing in that territory?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
That's very interesting. We're already seeing a chilling impact; I know Ms. Go has mentioned that.
Currently, there are no visa restrictions required for Canadians entering Hong Kong or for Hong Kong citizens coming to Canada. We might not get arrested, but we simply might not be permitted entry.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Okay.
Your belief is that members who are participating in this committee could well be detained if they made it into either mainland China or.... Let's keep it in Hong Kong, where they had freedoms in the past. We could have said just about anything and been able to travel in and out of the country. That is no longer the case. We could well find ourselves on trial, either in Hong Kong or in mainland China.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Right. Thank you.
Mr. Rogers, very quickly, you're located now in the U.K. Has your group ever been located in Hong Kong, and would you travel to Hong Kong?
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