Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My thanks to the witnesses for their important contribution to our work.
With the previous panel, we had the opportunity to look more specifically at the fate of the activists in Hong Kong. This time, we are looking more closely at the influence of the Chinese authorities, or at least at the threats they would pose to nationals on Canadian territory. Either way, we have questions to ask ourselves and actions to take.
I have had the opportunity to speak with the Chinese ambassador and the consul general in Montreal. If I may, I will tell you about that. The following argument was made. Given that the situation on the ground was completely explosive, the purpose of the national security legislation was really to maintain stability in Hong Kong and to ensure that democratic institutions were maintained.
In light of what we have seen so far and the fears that have been expressed, how much faith can we have in such a claim by the Chinese authorities? It is legitimate to believe that stability is the mark of democratic institutions, but how can we believe what they say, given everything that has happened so far, including the imprisonment of journalists and activists? As I pointed out to the Chinese diplomats, if nothing in the legislation says what can constitute a breach of national security, anything can be one.
I would like an answer to that question in reverse order.