Evidence of meeting #10 for Canada-China Relations in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was wong.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Davin Wong  Director, Youth Engagement and Policy Initiatives, Alliance Canada Hong Kong
Cherie Wong  Executive Director, Alliance Canada Hong Kong
Gloria Fung  President and Coordinator of a cross-Canada platform for 16 organizations concerned about Hong Kong , Canada-Hong Kong Link
Aileen Calverley  Co-founder and Trustee, Hong Kong Watch
Alex Neve  Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
Akram Keram  Program Officer for China, National Endowment for Democracy
Sophie Richardson  China Director, Human Rights Watch

August 11th, 2020 / 11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

I call this meeting to order.

Welcome to meeting number 10 of the House of Commons Special Committee on Canada—China Relations. Pursuant to the order of reference of July 20, 2020, the committee is meeting on its study on Canada-China relations.

Today’s meeting is taking place by video conference.

To ensure an orderly meeting, here are a few rules to follow.

Interpretation in this video conference will work very much as it does in a regular committee meeting. At the bottom of your screen, you have the choice of either floor, English or French.

As you are speaking, if you plan to alternate from one language to the other, you will need to also switch the interpretation channel so that it aligns with the language you are speaking. You may want to allow for a short pause when switching languages.

Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. When you are ready to speak, you can click on the microphone icon to activate your microphone.

A reminder that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair.

If a member wishes to speak outside the time provided for their questions, they must turn on their microphone and state that they wish to raise a point of order.

If a member wishes to address a point of order raised by another member, they must use the “raise hand” function to inform the chair that they want to speak. To do so, you must click on “participants” at the bottom of the screen. When the list appears beside your name, you will see an option to raise your hand.

Make sure that you speak slowly and clearly.

When you are not speaking, your microphone should be on mute.

The use of headsets is strongly encouraged.

Before we get started, can everyone click on their screen, in the top right-hand corner, and ensure they are on gallery view? With this view, you should be able to see all the participants in a grid view, and it will ensure that all video participants can see one another. As is the case during in-person meetings, the public will only see the participant who is speaking.

I would like to welcome our first panel of witnesses. From Alliance Canada Hong Kong, we have Cherie Wong, executive director; and Davin Wong, director of youth engagement and policy initiatives. From Canada-Hong Kong Link, we have Gloria Fung, president and coordinator of a Canada-wide platform for 16 organizations concerned about Hong Kong. From Hong Kong Watch, we have Aileen Calverley, co-founder and trustee.

Each witness or organization will have seven to 10 minutes to make an opening statement, followed by a round of questions from the members.

Mr. Wong, please go ahead.

11:05 a.m.

Davin Wong Director, Youth Engagement and Policy Initiatives, Alliance Canada Hong Kong

Thank you.

My name is Davin Wong. I'm the director of youth engagement and policy initiatives at ACHK and the former president of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union, HKUSU, until I fled Hong Kong. I would like to thank the committee for the invitation to testify.

I understand my privilege as a Canadian Hong Konger, and it is my duty to speak up. Though I am speaking to you as a Canadian citizen, I am at risk. The Hong Kong government has already issued warrants for six overseas advocates for “secession” and “colluding with foreign countries” under the national security law, one of whom is an American citizen advocating to their own government.

The national security law destroys Hong Kongers’ capacity to express opposing opinions. It is also used to disqualify candidates and hijack the LegCo election. My friends and activists are feeling the chilling effects under this draconian law. Hong Kongers now depend on their international allies to hold the Beijing and Hong Kong governments to account.

I would like to bring the committee back to a year ago, when I was still a student leader involved in the pro-democracy movement. At that time, I had been harassed, threatened and intimidated. On August 30, 2019, I was followed, beaten up and wounded by a man in a white T-shirt, which is a dress code known for pro-Beijing thugs. Three other activists were brutally attacked on the same day.

I did not go to the hospital after the attack. Hospitals are dangerous spaces for activists, as it was exposed that the police set up back doors to the hospital authority’s system to track down hospitalized protestors. At the time, HKUSU even had to set up an underground clinic with voluntary doctors and medical students for protesters who were in need of medical help.

I also didn't seek help from the police. Why would I? As an activist, the police see me as an enemy. I have witnessed their abuse of power and human rights violations. I have witnessed mass arrests. One in 10 of my friends has been arrested on bogus charges. I have carried a friend who was shot in the stomach by the police. I have had guns pointed at me and I still vividly remember the smell of tear gas. The Hong Kong Police Force arrested medics and reporters. Protestors were beaten, raped, tortured and denied due process. Do you know what my friends and I would carry to the protests? Our wills, because we feared that we would never see the sunlight again.

After the attack, I immediately booked my ticket at 3 p.m. and hopped on the plane at 7 p.m. I knew that fleeing Hong Kong was a one-way trip, but I still naively believed I might have a slight chance to return. The national security law killed it. Our advocacy work here can get us arrested under the broad definition of “collusion with foreign countries”. We are not safe even in Canada, as we have seen dissidents abducted by Beijing in other countries. The fear is real.

Regarding the national security law, Beijing’s claims of extraterritorial jurisdiction over acts committed by non-Hong Kong residents outside of the territory is amplifying Beijing’s global authoritarian ambition. This committee should also pay attention to Beijing's long arms and the interference that is already effectively undermining our freedoms in Canada.

While I am not an expert in national security, I witnessed their tactics, especially in academia and student activism. The liaison office was a major financial supporter of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association in Hong Kong universities. HKUSU was also once infiltrated by students trained by pro-Beijing groups. We worry that this kind of interference is already happening in Canada.

Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy have been destroyed. Journalists are guarding the last remnants of freedom of press and information, but the owner of Apple Daily, one of the most reliable sources in Hong Kong, was arrested under the national security law two days ago. The situation is urgent, and we’re running out of time.

I ask Canada to immediately offer safe haven for Hong Kongers, to curb the CCP’s malicious interference campaign at home and to work with our allies to hold the Chinese and Hong Kong governments to account.

Thank you again for letting me share my experience. I look forward to your questions.

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much.

Was Ms. Wong going to add anything or not?

11:10 a.m.

Cherie Wong Executive Director, Alliance Canada Hong Kong

Yes, I will.

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Okay, you still have a few minutes. Go ahead, please.

11:10 a.m.

Executive Director, Alliance Canada Hong Kong

Cherie Wong

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My name is Cherie Wong, and I use she/her pronouns.

I was born in Canada and raised in the post-handover Hong Kong, so I'm honoured to be here today as a Hong Konger and as a Canadian. I am the co-founder and executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong. ACHK is a volunteer-led, multipartisan national collective of 18 community groups across 10 cities.

Since the start of Hong Kong's democratic movement, I have received death and rape threats, with implications to harm my family. During the launch week of ACHK, I received an ominous phone call to my hotel room saying that they're coming to collect me. The room was booked by another person, yet they still managed to find me.

On October 1, 2019, I co-led a protest on Parliament Hill with Ottawans Stand with Hong Kong. Days before the demonstration, we started to receive online threats. At the protest, we were verbally and physically assaulted, threatened and harassed. Over 100 pro-Beijing supporters were mobilized quickly, surrounded us and kettled us.

While the Ottawa police were called to escort us, pro-Beijing groups took photos and videos of us and continued to follow us, even as we drove away. After the protest, many of us had our private information maliciously published.

Canadians across the nation are forced to hide their identity or be targeted by pro-Beijing forces. What is even more worrying is that these interference campaigns are emboldened by Chinese diplomats in Canada. Tong Xiaoling, the consul general in Vancouver, has called on ethno-nationalistic unity in an attempt to assert control over the Sino communities.

Hong Kong is not only a foreign issue, which is why our demands are not only about advancing Hong Kong's democratic future, but it also reflects the ongoing issues facing Canadian communities.

Alongside Citizens' Press Conference, we consulted with 13,000 Canadians and Hong Kongers through a survey to inform Canada's five demands for action: provide humanitarian support for Hong Kongers, Uighurs, Tibetans, Chinese and other communities fleeing persecution; invoke sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials for human rights atrocities; protect Canadians' constitutional rights and freedoms from erosion; investigate and combat foreign interference into Canadian institutions; and end all exports of military/police goods and technology.

While we commend the decision to suspend sensitive military exports to Hong Kong, Canadian education institutions continue to be in a vulnerable position by trading funds for intellectual property. Three Canadian universities are in the top 10 in collaborating with the People's Liberation Army: McGill University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto.

Foreign state interference is deeply rooted in various aspects of Canadian society, including academia, media, social media, student communities, the private sector, education and political institutions. It has become clear that there is a coordinated campaign to infiltrate and influence Canadian society, and this is part of the CCP's global authoritarian agenda.

There's overwhelming support in Canada to stand against human rights atrocities, co-signed by 27 community leaders and 75 parliamentarians from all major political parties. We are calling on the government to invoke Magnitsky sanctions in collaboration with other middle powers.

The CCP has shown complete disregard for international rules. State suppression has only accelerated under the guise of COVID-19. Since the implementation of the national security law, the CCP has been using oppressive tactics that are used in Tibet and East Turkestan, notably on the first day of the national security law. Authorities have started to collect DNA from those who were arrested in Hong Kong.

There's a persistent characterization that Hong Kongers readily have the resources to emigrate, and that protesters are young. In reality, many of them do not have the material means to leave and may not qualify through regular pathways. We have a short window to act before the CCP completely shuts down the freedom of movement in Hong Kong.

As for Canada's role in the democratic movement in Hong Kong, I hope you can all agree that the democratic future must be of the people, by the people and for the people of Hong Kong.

Before wrapping up, I want to acknowledge the narrative that the CCP has created, an illusion of net benefits when trading with China. It is naive to believe the CCP will change. Time and again, the CCP has used trade as a weapon, and it is absolutely crucial that Canada begin to diversify our trade and economic relations with countries that are committed to democratic development and upholding human rights.

Thank you again for inviting me to speak here today. I look forward to your questions, and I hope we can offer insights to advance Canada's interests in this larger discussion about Canada-China relations.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much, Mr. Wong and Ms. Wong.

Now we have, from the Canada-Hong Kong Link, Gloria Y. Fung, president and coordinator of a cross-Canada platform for 16 organizations concerned about Hong Kong.

Ms. Fung, you have up to 10 minutes. Please go ahead.

11:15 a.m.

Gloria Fung President and Coordinator of a cross-Canada platform for 16 organizations concerned about Hong Kong , Canada-Hong Kong Link

Mr. Chair and members of the special committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before this committee. I feel honoured to stand with the courageous people of Hong Kong in their struggle for freedom and human rights.

I am a proud Canadian who grew up in Hong Kong. I have been engaged in international justice work here since Canada-Hong Kong Link’s formation in 1997. Last year, when I saw millions in Hong Kong peacefully marching for basic civil rights and young front-line protesters courageously standing their ground despite being tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed and even shot, it touched my heart. I know how hard it is in China to overcome one’s fear and to stand up for human dignity and fundamental rights, because I was a witness of the Tiananmen massacre in 1989. I saw tanks crushing people and a man shot to death beside me. I will never underestimate the brutality of the Chinese Communist Party in silencing dissent.

In Hong Kong, during last year’s protests marked by escalating police brutality, over 9,000 people were arrested, some as young as 13 years old. They face prison terms of up to 10 years. This is the price they have to pay for struggling to preserve core values that we Canadians also cherish.

This year marked the end of Hong Kong’s autonomy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms under the one country, two systems framework, as Beijing imposed its new security law and cracked down on independent media and opposition. Many in Hong Kong fear they will suffer the same fate as the millions of interned Uighurs, Tibetans and faith groups, whose rights of free expression and worship are denied.

In addition to threatening the civil rights of Hong Kong people and the 300,000 Canadians living there, the national security law claims extraterritorial jurisdiction. Anyone anywhere in the world who criticizes the Chinese or Hong Kong governments could be considered a criminal under its vaguely worded provisions criminalizing the incitement of hatred against China. China has extradition treaties with many countries, and Canadian citizenship offers no protection. The two Michaels can attest to this, as they mark their 20th month of arbitrary detention under conditions amounting to torture.

Our government must take this grave threat to Canadians’ safety seriously. Approximately 50 Hong Kongers are seeking asylum in Canada. We anticipate a new wave of returned immigrants and asylum seekers after travel restrictions are lifted.

What is the impact of Hong Kong on the Canadian community?

What is happening in Hong Kong is vital to Canadian interests. As an increasingly powerful Chinese regime aims to expand its influence and subvert the international rule of law, Hong Kong is on the front line of a worldwide conflict pitting totalitarianism against freedom and democracy. Therefore, defending freedom in Hong Kong is also defending Canadians’ security, interests and core values.

Last June, Canada-Hong Kong Link staged our first anti-extradition bill rally, engaging a wide range of communities, including the Uighur, Tibetan, Taiwanese and religious sectors. Canadians’ support for Hong Kong grew into large demonstrations, involving thousands from coast to coast. Following the launch of an e-petition supporting democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, with thousands of signatories from across Canada, we have collectively built a nationwide network of organizations engaging voters to advocate for policy changes.

However, the Chinese Communist Party has launched covert operations to suppress our right to freedom of expression, using commercial blacklisting, threatening phone calls or emails, cyber-hacking and even physical confrontation. I have personally experienced all of these forms of intimidation. Anonymous callers have repeatedly warned me of serious consequences if I continue my advocacy. Google security has warned me of numerous state-level hacking attempts.

The most dramatic physical confrontations occurred in August last year. Chinese international students and pro-Beijing United Front organizations were mobilized to block and intimidate peaceful demonstrations in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and many other cities around the world at the same time. In Toronto, they blocked our march and attempted to steal our flags, leading to police intervention. They screamed insults at us, sang the Chinese national anthem and booed us when we responded with O Canada. Older men with cellular phones stood apart from the crowd, apparently giving instructions.

At a Vancouver church, a prayer vigil for peace in Hong Kong was disrupted by 100 pro-Beijing protesters waving Chinese flags. Church members had to call the police so they could leave safely. These incidents are a clash of opposing values. We have documented them in the 2020 national report on harassment and intimidation compiled by Amnesty International and the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China.

Pro-Beijing United Front organizations have placed full-page ads in Chinese-language newspapers in Canada supporting the extradition bill and the new security law. In most Canadian Chinese-language media, coverage of Hong Kong issues is virtually controlled by the Chinese Communist Party either through direct ownership or through influence by the Chinese embassy and consulates. Journalistic freedom in Canada is limited.

In light of Beijing’s grievous assault on civil rights in Hong Kong, we call upon the Government of Canada to take the following actions. One, offer a “safe harbour program” with an expedited process to grant permanent residency status to Hong Kongers at risk of political persecution, including international students and expatriate workers who have participated in protests in Canada. Two, invoke the Magnitsky Law to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials who violate human rights and to ban them and their immediate family members from Canada and freeze their Canadian assets; the U.S. has already done this. Three, introduce legislation to combat foreign interference in Canadian politics and suppression of freedom of expression on Canadian soil.

Furthermore, we call on this committee to expedite the completion of the report on Hong Kong after this series of hearings and to immediately act on the proposed policies to address the human rights crisis in Hong Kong.

In conclusion, Canada needs to work with international allies to institute a strong policy towards China. It is way past time for Canada to show leadership on the world stage.

Thank you very much.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much, Ms. Fung.

Now, from Hong Kong Watch, we have Aileen Calverley, co-founder and trustee.

Ms. Calverley, you have 10 minutes. Please go ahead.

11:25 a.m.

Aileen Calverley Co-founder and Trustee, Hong Kong Watch

Thank you very much for having me here. It's my honour to speak to you today.

Since the national security law came into force on June 30, it has already been used to suppress freedom of expression and assembly on the streets, in the classroom and overseas. Over 30 protesters and activists have been arrested. Democracy itself has also been targeted by this new law. The Hong Kong government and Beijing officials in Hong Kong have used the threat of the national security law to quash dissent and undermine democracy by disqualifying 12 pro-democracy candidates who won primaries, and have threatened over 600,000 Hong Kongers who turned out to vote for those candidates in the primary elections. They then chose to postpone the elections.

Our concern now is that by invoking emergency colonial-era ordinances, Beijing will suspend democracy in Hong Kong indefinitely.

The new law is not limited to quashing opposition at the ballot box or on the streets. The introduction of national security education and encouraging students and teachers to monitor each other, as well as the firing of pro-democracy academic Professor Benny Tai, are blows to academic freedom.

Similarly, the arrest of Jimmy Lai, the owner of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, with 200 police officers raiding his headquarters, is a blow to press freedom.

Meanwhile, tech firms like Telegram, Facebook, Google and WhatsApp are in a standoff with authorities over the requirement that they co-operate with the police data requests in national security cases. These developments demonstrate the chilling effect the national security law is having on all sectors of Hong Kong society.

Recently, the U.K. All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong launched its inquiry report into human rights abuses by the Hong Kong Police Force. In direct breach of international humanitarian law, the police arrested dozens of medical workers who were trying to help injured protesters.

This does not only matter to Hong Kongers whose freedom has been stripped away; it matters to us in Canada. With over 900,000 Hong Kong Canadians living in Canada and Hong Kong, Canada has a special relationship with Hong Kong. If Canada, with its long history of defending human rights, is not willing to stand with like-minded partners in defence of Hong Kong's freedoms, then the values we believe in will be degraded, along with Canada's standing in the world.

The announcement by the Beijing government of a list of individuals overseas wanted under the national security law validates the authorities' worrying claim to overseas jurisdiction, its ability to target foreign nationals, and the fact that the law will be applied retroactively. As we have a large Hong Kong Canadian community in Canada, it is extremely concerning that six Hong Kong activists living in the U.K., Germany and the U.S. are all wanted under the law. One of the activists in question is a U.S. citizen who has lived in the U.S. for over 25 years. These activists are accused of inciting secession and colluding with foreign forces. The maximum penalty is lifelong imprisonment.

The law also harms Canada's business interests in the region. A recent report published by Hong Kong Watch, “Why Hong Kong matters”, found that the city, as a financial centre, continues to be indispensable to Chinese and international business, precisely because of the one country, two systems model, which guarantees freedoms and the rule of law.

Hong Kong remains the most important financial conduit between China and the rest of the world, and a key hub for Canadian businesses. Strip away the city's rule of law, and one of Asia's most important hubs will collapse. China must step back from the brink.

Before turning to what we should do, we must dispel a myth. It is often said that China is Canada's second-largest trading partner and Canada cannot afford to upset China, but let's look at the numbers.

In 2019, Canada's exports to China were 3.9% in total. Canada does not rely on China. The biggest trading partner of Canada is, of course, the United States, with 75% of Canadian exports going to the U.S. The second-largest trading partner of Canada is the European Union. A recent report published by the Henry Jackson Society found that, among the Five Eyes countries, Canada is the least reliant on China as an export market. The Canadian government should not hide behind the myth instead of standing up for its values.

Canada is not dependent on China. Canada must find its backbone and stand up to the CCP. There are three ways to do this: sanctions, diplomacy and refuge.

In response to the violation of the Joint Declaration, the U.S. government last week imposed sanctions on 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials, including Carrie Lam. This follows the enactment of the financial sanctions bill, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which enables the government to sanction individuals and financial institutions that have violated Hong Kong's autonomy. Canada should join them.

At Hong Kong Watch, our reasoning for supporting targeted sanctions has always been threefold. First, we recognize that targeting Hong Kong and Chinese officials is a deterrent, ensuring that continued violations of human rights are met with a steep personal price that includes the restriction of travel and financial penalties.

Second, despite the claims of a Chinese official that sanctions will have little personal impact, as he doesn't have a U.S. bank account or travel to the U.S., we know that they work. One executive with a China unit of a major European bank described all officials on the U.S. sanction list as “toxic” in the eyes of international banks. This is not to mention that, since many of the officials named on the list have family with foreign citizenship, a visa ban would create a considerable obstacle for them. The partners of Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng and the Secretary of Education Kevin Yeung have Canadian citizenship, and the Secretary for Home Affairs, Caspar Tsui, owns property here in Canada.

Third, target sanctions fall into a wider discussion about the international community's response to the Chinese Communist Party's expansionist strategy.

For Hong Kong, it is five minutes to midnight. We hope the Canadian government will play its part and have the courage to follow the example set by the U.S. and enact sanctions under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act in defence of Hong Kong's rights and freedoms.

For too long, Carrie Lam and CCP officials have been able to act with impunity in suspending freedoms and violating human rights. Of course, Magnitsky sanctions on their own are not the whole answer. They should be part of a wider approach that includes the offer of a lifeline to Hong Kongers, especially the young protestors who are in need, and the endorsement of the creation of a UN special envoy/rapporteur for Hong Kong to monitor and report on the situation on the ground. This would cover a comprehensive strategy of diplomacy, refuge and sanctions, which should be the bedrock of Canada's response with international partners to the crisis in Hong Kong.

Some who favour placing trade over human rights may argue that these measures will have little effect with Canada undertaking them alone and will serve only to antagonize China; however, Canada is not alone. In the last month, we have seen countries across the world suspending extradition treaties with Hong Kong and implementing export controls.

I am certain that if Canada chooses to act, it will find itself in close company with its key allies from the free world. It's time to take action. It's time to stand up for Hong Kong.

Thank you very much.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much, Ms. Calverley.

I thank all the witnesses for staying within their time.

Now we'll go to the first round of questions. To start off will be Mr. Genuis for six minutes, please.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to all the witnesses. I'm so glad that we're finally here and that we're finally having these hearings on Hong Kong. I wish we had started these hearings on Hong Kong months ago. We didn't have the support of the government to do that back in May, but this powerful testimony that we're getting, better late than never, will hopefully be a huge wake-up call to all of us here, to parliamentarians, to the government and to all Canadians. We're hearing from witnesses who have a great understanding of Hong Kong, who love Hong Kong, but who first and foremost are proud Canadians and are talking about threats to their rights, their freedom and their sense of security here in Canada.

What I get from your testimony is that we're seeing in Hong Kong an attack on fundamental human rights, an attack on international law and a violation of China's commitments, but also really this unprecedented effort to formally seek extraterritorial jurisdiction over speech. The Chinese government now presumes that they can hold people accountable and they can prosecute people who are Canadian citizens for what they say in Canada. That should be a huge concern for all of us. Thank you for bringing that testimony.

I want to zero in on some action items. One of the witnesses said that the committee should table a report with some specific recommendations dealing with the issue of Hong Kong. I would like to get feedback from other witnesses on proceeding with that. When we see the events in Hong Kong, people hear “concern”, “grave concern”, etc. and they just get sick of hearing “concern”. They want to hear action items.

We have some good, specific action items, really four things that seemed to be similar across the witnesses: Magnitsky sanctions, which I think everybody mentioned; tough new legislation dealing with foreign interference, preventing Chinese state interference here in Canada; new pathways around immigration; and then proposals around diplomacy.

I guess I will just put my questions together and maybe we can hear from all of the witnesses on them.

Should we proceed with a report as a committee to put these issues on the parliamentary agenda? On the issue of sanctions, should we sanction Carrie Lam? Is that something Canada should follow up on? On the issue of foreign interference, it seems obvious to me, in a way, that we should have a zero tolerance policy for diplomats involved in foreign interference here in Canada. If you're intimidating Canadians and you're a diplomat, you should be sent home. We should end university co-operation with hostile foreign armies. It's crazy to me that we would have co-operation between the People's Liberation Army and our universities.

Those seem like clear, simple steps that the Canadian government could take right away. I would love to hear feedback from all of the witnesses on those points.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

If you don't mind, Mr. Genuis, could you expedite that by indicating whom you would like to hear from first? I'm sorry to do that, but I think it would help us all.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Sure. How about we go in reverse order of the testimony?

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Very good.

Ms. Calverley, go ahead, please.

11:35 a.m.

Co-founder and Trustee, Hong Kong Watch

Aileen Calverley

I think immediate action is needed. Time is running out. It's a very, very dire situation in Hong Kong. I would agree that having....

Actually, we have our sanctions list. I'm based in the U.K. You may know Hong Kong Watch as an international human rights NGO, but we're based in London. The foreign minister already has the first batch of names to be sanctioned. It doesn't include China, but we are pushing for the next batch to include Chinese and Hong Kong officials.

Definitely, Mr. Genuis, I would agree with you about putting Carrie Lam on the list. I think we need to go ahead and do that. As I said, it's very important that we take action with our key allies so that we are not alone. Of course, we were laughed at by some people: “You cannot save your own Canadians, so how do you save Hong Kong?” I totally disagree with that. I think with the international community working together, we can save our Canadians and we can also save Hong Kong.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Ms. Fung, perhaps you can comment as well on my introduction and my questions.

11:40 a.m.

President and Coordinator of a cross-Canada platform for 16 organizations concerned about Hong Kong , Canada-Hong Kong Link

Gloria Fung

I fully agree with your proposal. I think it is of the utmost importance that we expedite the completion of the report on this series of hearings. We cannot wait until all the hearings covering all the issues on the special committee's agenda are completed, because the risk that Hong Kong people are confronted with in Hong Kong is so imminent. Even one month will be too long. Many of them are already being confronted with life-and-death risks.

It is of the utmost importance for us to work with our allies, particularly the Five Eyes allies, to think of some kind of emergency measures to help Hong Kongers who are under a very high risk of political persecution to get out of Hong Kong. At the same time, we should implement the safe harbour program to allow those who are also under political persecution to settle down in Canada. Many International students, who have been overlooked by a lot of people, have joined us in the past year at our rallies and at all kinds of social actions. They are also under a political persecution risk. They should be provided with some kind of extended visa for them to stay behind—

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Ms. Fung, thank you very much. I'm afraid Mr. Genuis's time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Genuis.

We now have Ms. Zann for six minutes, please.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you very much.

I want to thank the witnesses for coming forward today. I know this is a very emotional issue and a very worrying issue for so many of the people in Hong Kong, and for yourselves and your families.

I do want to say that I did visit Hong Kong once and found it to be an incredible city. It's a unique city in the world, and I'm so sorry to see what's going on there right now.

Observers have warned that the national security law has this extraterritorial reach, as was mentioned. Amnesty International, in particular, has stated that the law “applies to everyone on the planet”. Where and to whom do you believe this law applies, and how do the extraterritorial aspects of the law compare to national security provisions adopted in jurisdictions outside of China?

Mr. Wong, would you like to start with that, and then maybe Ms. Fung could follow?

11:40 a.m.

Director, Youth Engagement and Policy Initiatives, Alliance Canada Hong Kong

Davin Wong

Thank you for the question.

Yes, the national security law is definitely concerning, especially the extraterritorial jurisdiction. What we can see is that two days ago, a journalist working for a U.K.-based press was arrested in Hong Kong under the national security law. What we can see from that is that even though we've ended the extradiction arrangement with Hong Kong, Canadians living or even situating in Hong Kong are at risk of being arrested, even if they are working for a Canada-based press. I think that's what this committee should pay attention to and be concerned about.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you.

Ms. Fung, would you comment?

11:40 a.m.

President and Coordinator of a cross-Canada platform for 16 organizations concerned about Hong Kong , Canada-Hong Kong Link

Gloria Fung

One, I think there are a few groups of people who are at imminent risk under this new security law. They are those expatriate people who are living and working in Hong Kong, including 300,000 Canadians, and therefore Canada has the responsibility to condemn this new security law and at the same time to work with our allies to seek a certain way to put an end to it.

Two, there are other international nationals who, if they happen to be transient in Hong Kong, could also be arbitrarily arrested. I think the law really applies to everyone, anywhere on this planet, including all the members of this special committee who could have said anything critical towards the Beijing government or the Hong Kong government.

This kind of fear has been very overwhelming. A lot of people have already started to be affected and to exercise self-censorship. A lot of international media people in Hong Kong have already been exercising self-censorship, and many of them have also relocated their offices to Taiwan or other neighbouring countries. This is a very unfortunate development.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you.

Given all of that, to what extent do you believe it would be risky for foreigners who have advocated for greater freedoms and democracy in Hong Kong to visit Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China, or countries that have close relations with China?

Who would like to answer that?

11:45 a.m.

Co-founder and Trustee, Hong Kong Watch

Aileen Calverley

I will answer.

Actually, a lot of journalists in Hong Kong are waiting for the renewal of their visas. The New York Times relocated some of their staff from Hong Kong to South Korea, so you can see there's a threat for journalists in Hong Kong.

In terms of Hong Kong Watch, our chairman was denied entry into Hong Kong. He got threats, and letters were sent to his neighbours, to him and to his mom.

Also, last week Ray Wong, one of the wanted activists, visited London and met with Simon Cheng, who got asylum in the U.K. They were followed by a guy who looked like a Chinese national. Just yesterday Simon Cheng received emails, calls from C.Y. Leung saying to watch himself, and that they would get him and take him back to Hong Kong. That's the threat for people outside of Hong Kong.