Evidence of meeting #12 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 kong.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Christine Holke
Evan S. Medeiros  Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University
Alvin Y.H. Cheung  Non-Resident Affiliated Scholar, US-Asia Law Institute, New York University School of Law
Lynette H. Ong  Professor of Political Science and Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Stéphane Chatigny  Lawyer, As an Individual
Sharon Hom  Executive Director, Human Rights in China
Malte Philipp Kaeding  Assistant Professor in International Politics, University of Surrey

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much.

Mr. Albas, I don't think you're aware your hand is still up. You may want to take that down, please.

Go ahead, Mr. Virani.

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

This is apropos to what Mr. Harris just mentioned and to what Mr. Oliphant said 10 minutes ago. I'm not trying to complicate matters, but we could have some language inserted that allows for the possibility of including other people, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Michael van Walt, the academic I mentioned in the earlier part of the meeting. There are a number of people who have expertise in this area. We could have some wiggle room in the language of the current text, so that it's not just one briefing from GAC officials. The potential for further guests or witnesses to speak to it would be welcome.

I'm not picky as to what the wordsmithing looks like, but I would like to allow for that in the text of this motion.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

It sounds like you're asking Mr. Harris if he's agreeable to that.

Mr. Harris, do you wish to respond?

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

I think this motion doesn't preclude any other witnesses from being called, but I don't know if we want to go into amending the motion at this point. I think this is something that would likely be referred to the subcommittee, and the subcommittee can give consideration to it. I prefer to do it just as is, but I'm not opposed to other witnesses being called.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you.

I see Mr. Oliphant.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

I will just add that the agreement we had earlier around other witnesses was what we would take to the subcommittee. We'll hear this, but we'll also look at this debate and be reminded that we were requested to look at Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch or academics or Canadian Tibetans. I think we're in agreement on that.

I'm noticing nodding or nodding off. It looks okay.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much.

Madam Clerk, please proceed to the recorded vote.

(Motion agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0)

Thank you very much, colleagues.

We need to take a very short pause to make sure we add all of the witnesses.

We'll take as few minutes as possible. If we're lucky, it will be less than five. See you shortly.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

I call the committee back to order. Welcome back.

I would like to make a few comments for the benefit of the new witnesses.

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 mike. All comments should be addressed through the chair.

Interpretation in this video conference will work very much as it does in a regular committee meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen 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 it aligns with the language you're speaking. You may want to allow for a short pause when switching languages. I remind you, witnesses, that if you require French interpretation, you should be selecting the English channel on the bottom of the screen, and vice versa if you need English interpretation.

When you're not speaking, you mike should be on mute, please. The use of headsets is strongly encouraged, as you've seen. I just would say that once we're into questioning by members, they will indicate, I hope, who they'd like to answer the question. When they call on you to answer a question, you don't have to wait for me to call on you. You can proceed, and at the end of the time they have, I will interrupt if I have to and go on to the next member.

I'd like to now welcome our first panel of witnesses. From Georgetown University, we have Evan S. Medeiros, Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies. From the New York University School of Law, we have Alvin Y.H. Cheung, non-resident affiliated scholar, U.S.-Asia Law Institute. From the University of Toronto, we have Lynette H. Ong, professor of political science and global affairs. Each witness will have up to 10 minutes to make an opening statement, followed by a round of questions from the members. We'll begin with Mr. Medeiros from Georgetown University.

Mr. Medeiros, go ahead, please, for 10 minutes.

11:25 a.m.

Evan S. Medeiros Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

It is a distinct pleasure and privilege to be invited to appear before this parliamentary Special Committee on Canada-China Relations. I applaud your focus on Canada-China relations in general and today's topic of Hong Kong. [Technical difficulty—Editor] all of its manifestations, is perhaps the most consequential challenge in global affairs. For nations to respond effectively, all countries need to engage in the very kind of national conversation that your committee is promoting about how to respond to China's rise.

My comments today will reflect my perspective as both a scholar and a former senior U.S. policy-maker. I spent 25 years researching and writing about China as both an analyst at the RAND Corporation and of course as a professor at Georgetown University. For six years I served on the staff of the U.S. National Security Council under President Obama as director for China, and then as special assistant to President Obama and senior director for Asia.

In today's session, I would like to make three broad points about the tragedy that has become Hong Kong.

First, the international community should expect the situation in Hong Kong to get worse before it stabilizes. Beijing's actions in recent weeks are a leading indicator, not a lagging one, of Hong Kong's deteriorating political trajectory under Beijing's hand. On July 31 Carrie Lam announced that the September Legislative Council elections would be postponed for a year. On the same day, Hong Kong authorities issued arrest warrants for six activists based abroad, including a U.S. citizen, for “incitement to secession and collusion with foreign forces”. On August 10, just last week, Jimmy Lai and several other media executives were arrested, as was Agnes Chow, former leader of the pro-democracy organization Demosisto.

These actions clearly signal that Beijing has no interest in preserving the basic political freedoms at the heart of the joint declaration, the Basic Law and ultimately the one country, two systems model, which collectively have been so important to Hong Kong's success today. The fact that Chinese internal security and intelligence services will now be able to openly operate in Hong Kong only increases the mainland's ability to use fear, intimidation and ultimately coercion to keep opposition voices silent.

Beijing's overall approach, in my assessment, is to use the national security law to separate politics from business in Hong Kong. It wants to preserve the latter while neutering the former. In short, Beijing wants Hong Kong to remain capitalist, especially the continued functioning of vibrant financial markets, but not liberal in its politics and, therefore, beholden to the Chinese Community Party for political governance.

Ultimately, this strategy will lead to, perhaps in a decade, the diminution of Hong Kong as the centre for finance in east Asia. As the risks and constraints of operating in Hong Kong grow, global financial firms and non-financial corporations will gradually reduce their footprint in Hong Kong as they move some of their operations into mainland China and their non-China operations to elsewhere in Asia. Thus, Hong Kong will gradually become a quirky, nostalgia-laden version of a southern Chinese city, consumed by the fact that its best days are in the rear-view mirror.

My second overall point is that the fate of Hong Kong will assume greater importance in global politics, largely by dint of its impact on U.S.-China relations. China's crackdown in Hong Kong will worsen the suspicion and mistrust at the heart of the U.S.-China relationship. More pointedly, it will fuel an incipient ideological competition between the United States and China. Hong Kong will become a focal point for and symbol of the U.S.-China competition over the value of liberal ideals.

Indeed, Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong could not have come at a worse time, as the U.S. is and will remain in the process of reassessing the nature of the China challenge and recalibrating its strategies and policies accordingly. China's treatment of Hong Kong has accentuated the differences in values between the United States and China. This has translated into a perception that China is actively trying to undermine liberal rules and norms globally, which in turn has produced a debate in the United States about whether China represents a systemic rival to the United States and other democracies.

My third and final point is that Canada, the United States and other major democracies need to stay engaged and active on the Hong Kong issue. Our countries' voices and actions matter now and going forward. While our leverage to change the situation on the ground is admittedly limited, there is much that can be done to shape the overall trajectory of Hong Kong, as well as to shape possible future actions by China.

These actions fall into several categories.

The first recommendation is that the United States and Canada should publicly and continually reassure the people of Hong Kong, as well as like-minded countries all over the world, that our governments will stand up for the protection of universal values. The Hong Kong situation will be a long-term challenge, and the international community, especially the United States and Canada, needs to be organized for the long game and not just focused on scoring points against Beijing's excesses right now. The two joint statements by the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Australia to date are important in this regard, as was the G7 foreign ministers' statement. Our countries should broaden this coalition to include others: notably Japan, South Korea and EU countries. The new international parliamentary commissions on China in the U.K., the EU and Japan offer another opportunity to send such signals.

The second recommendation is that the United States and Canada should take coordinated action to signal to China that there are costs for its crackdown. The logic of such actions is to give Beijing pause when it considers additional actions against Hong Kong. The recent decision by several countries to withdraw from or suspend their extradition treaties to Hong Kong was an important first step in this regard. One notable idea being considered is for a group of countries to follow the U.K. in opening their doors to Hong Kong residents who wish to emigrate, or related ideas to offer scholarships to young Hong Kong residents who wish to study in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and elsewhere.

The third recommendation is that the United States and Canada should work with the international business community to find creative ways to preserve the unique attributes and identity of Hong Kong to the extent possible. Beijing must avoid actions that substantially undercut the business environment in Hong Kong, especially related to global financial institutions. Thus, it may listen to the concerns of local and business leaders about restrictions such as Internet controls and law enforcement actions that undermine business confidence about operating in Hong Kong. The business community in Hong Kong may be helpful in pushing Beijing to retain some of Hong Kong's vibrancy.

My final point is that the U.S., Canada and other governments should work in coordination to take actions that disabuse Beijing of the belief that it could extend its coercion to Taiwan. I remain very concerned that Beijing could draw the wrong conclusions about the international community's response to Hong Kong, which, over time, could lead it to extend such an approach to Taiwan.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my views today. I'd be happy to answer any of your questions.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much.

Now, we'll go to Mr. Cheung from the New York University School of Law.

Mr. Cheung, you have up to 10 minutes.

11:35 a.m.

Alvin Y.H. Cheung Non-Resident Affiliated Scholar, US-Asia Law Institute, New York University School of Law

Mr. Chair, thank you for inviting me to give evidence today.

My academic work at NYU focuses on authoritarian abuses of law in Hong Kong and elsewhere. I'm also a Canadian citizen of Hong Kong origin, and I practised law in Hong Kong for several years.

You've already heard at length from other witnesses about developments in Hong Kong. I want to underscore the specific importance of these events to Canada. Although my remarks focus on the national security law, or NSL, I should emphasize that other developments, such as the growing politicization of the civil service and widespread impunity in the uniformed services, are also deeply troubling. I will gladly address these topics in questioning.

I will make three points today. First, events in Hong Kong are bad for Canadian businesses operating there; second, events in Hong Kong are bad for Canadian citizens, both inside and outside of Hong Kong; and third, events in Hong Kong directly implicate Canadian foreign policy priorities.

One of the main attractions of Hong Kong for Canadian businesses is the perception that it maintains the rule of law. This is ultimately about not being subject to arbitrary exercises of state power, and it is about being able to anticipate with reasonable certainty what you can or cannot do.

The NSL imposes a parallel legal system on Hong Kong, one with poorly defined offences, unaccountable secret police and harsh penalties. This system will displace the normal legal system whenever the authorities invoke “national security”. Simply put, whether normal law applies to you depends on the whim of the state. Even normal administrative institutions that businesses rely upon, such as the Companies Registry, have been politically captured. Since 2014, several opposition parties, including Joshua Wong's party, Demosisto, have been denied corporate registration, hampering their ability to rent offices or raise funds.

For at least three reasons, political apathy will not protect the business community. First, businesses in Hong Kong face tremendous political pressure to support the NSL publicly. Second, businesses will be forced to choose between complying with the NSL and complying with other regulatory regimes, including U.S. sanctions. Third, normal business matters may increasingly be characterized as implicating national security. For instance, any financial analyst whose conclusions could be interpreted as undermining public confidence in the Hong Kong or Beijing governments may be at risk of being prosecuted under the NSL.

Numerous chambers of commerce opposed the rendition bill in 2019 because they feared anyone present in or transiting through Hong Kong would be rendered to the mainland and subjected to its criminal law system. Having largely failed to bring people in Hong Kong within the reach of mainland criminal law, Beijing has brought mainland criminal law to them.

Events in Hong Kong also have grave consequences for Canadian citizens, whether or not they currently live in Hong Kong. There are over 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong, and all of them must now live in fear of the possible consequences of violating the NSL, which includes being rendered to mainland China, prosecuted in mainland courts and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Even a brief reading of the NSL will reveal that it defines its offences in extremely broad terms. In the circumstances, there can be no meaningful certainty as to what will or will not be treated as an NSL violation. When the Chinese authorities assert, as they have done repeatedly, that the NSL will only be used against a small number of people, they are implicitly admitting that they have extremely broad enforcement discretion, yet they have said very little about how that discretion will be exercised or regulated. This is antithetical to the rule of law.

The chilling effects of the NSL also extend to Canadian citizens within Canada. As has already been noted by other witnesses, the NSL encompasses acts done outside Hong Kong by people who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong. Consequently, any Canadian who might have to travel to Hong Kong, transit through Hong Kong or take a flight operated by a Hong Kong-based airline now faces considerable pressure to self-censor. Canadian citizens like me should be able to participate in the Canadian political process without fearing reprisals if they travel to or through Hong Kong.

Canadian citizens of Hong Kong descent are at particular risk. Many of them, particularly those living in Hong Kong, are also deemed to be PRC nationals under PRC law. As the PRC does not recognize dual citizenship, these individuals are at risk of being denied consular access in the event that they are detained in Hong Kong.

Evidence also suggests that the PRC has coerced individuals into renouncing foreign citizenship or claims to consular assistance. On June 30 of this year, a PRC court sentenced Sun Qian, a Canadian citizen, to eight years in prison for being a Falun Gong practitioner. She purported to renounce Canadian citizenship in the process, likely due to coercion by Chinese authorities. Similarly, Hong Kong-based booksellers Gui Minhai and Lee Bo, citizens of Sweden and the U.K. respectively, have also purported to renounce foreign citizenship in circumstances suggesting duress.

Canadian citizens with ties to Hong Kong must now consider whether what they say in Canada will be used against them in the event they so much as set foot on a Hong Kong-registered airliner. In addition, protests in Canada expressing support for Hong Kong have been met with counterprotests and provocateurs, and their participants subjected to harassment and intimidation. PRC consular officials in this country have publicly praised such acts of retaliation.

Events in Hong Kong also have implications for Canadian foreign policy.

First, the NSL will inhibit the Canadian government’s ability to obtain accurate information about developments in Hong Kong and China. Any Canadian citizen based in Hong Kong may face prosecution for doing what I am doing today.

Second, China's conduct in Hong Kong reflects poorly on its willingness to abide by other international commitments. Since 2014 mainland and Hong Kong officials have publicly and repeatedly declared the Sino-British Joint Declaration to be a dead letter, even though it remains in force until 2047. The failure of the international community, Canada included, to condemn these repudiations has contributed to the climate of impunity under which the PRC now operates in Hong Kong. Against that background, one might reasonably wonder whether the PRC will abide by its other bilateral and multilateral commitments.

Third and most significantly, the ongoing events in Hong Kong are an acid test for Canada’s willingness to uphold its commitments.

For the reasons I have set out, the situation in Hong Kong threatens the personal safety of Canadian citizens in Hong Kong and in Canada. It also imperils Canadian businesses in Hong Kong. This country has an obligation to protect them. Perhaps more importantly, how Canada reacts to developments in Hong Kong will speak volumes as to who we are and what values we share. Our government has publicly committed to revitalising the rules-based international order in conjunction with regional, bilateral and multilateral partners. I hope whatever steps the special committee recommends, and whatever steps the government ultimately chooses to take, will live up to these stated commitments to multilateralism and the rule of law.

I will now be happy to take questions and to deliver supplemental written answers, if need be.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much, Mr. Cheung.

We'll now go to Professor Ong from the University of Toronto.

You have 10 minutes.

11:45 a.m.

Lynette H. Ong Professor of Political Science and Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am grateful for this opportunity to appear before the committee.

Let me begin with a statement of positionality. My perspectives on the situation in Hong Kong have been shaped by my work in and on China, first as a consultant and later as an academic, since the late 1990s. I've been based at the University of Toronto for the last 14 years, the first and only academic position I've ever held.

The national security law has potential widespread consequences. As a China scholar, I think about delivery of content over online platforms and preservation of the rigour and integrity of the courses I teach. I think about the safety of my students participating online, either in Toronto or from their home countries. I think about the feasibility of sustaining my own research agenda. I also think about my Hong Kong-based colleagues who are at the forefront of the battle against the erosion of academic freedom.

The law’s potential impact on the wider academic community that engages with Hong Kong and China is profound, but we should also be mindful that this is not the first time the mettle of the Chinese scholarly community has been tested—the last time was in 1989—yet we endure, we adapt and eventually we continue to thrive.

When the law was first proposed, my initial assessment was that it would merely legalize the underground repression that Beijing has applied on Hong Kong for over a decade. My own research suggests that covert repression through proxy or those taken out of the public eye has been ongoing in Hong Kong for some time, such as the kidnapping of banned booksellers and the Yuen Long attack in July 2019.

However, recent events unambiguously suggest that the law has actually emboldened and legalized further crackdown on freedom of speech and civil liberties. Furthermore, because of the law’s deliberately vague wording, it has produced a chilling effect on Hong Kong society and beyond. It is a clear violation of the one country, two systems principle in the Basic Law.

However, moving forward, the situation in Hong Kong may go in one of these two directions. One, I think Beijing may intensify its crackdown, further eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy and the space for civil society to operate. Two, the repression may taper off after the initial round of harsh crackdowns. One could argue that, because the law is so new, its first set of applications was deliberately harsh in order to set a precedent for, as well as to produce a demonstrative effect on, any would-be violators.

In my view, which of these two ways the situation will evolve in depends on the value of Hong Kong to the Chinese Communist Party elites. Despite the rising competitiveness of Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen, the Hong Kong stock exchange remains the most favourable venue for Chinese companies to raise capital.

Furthermore, a recent New York Times investigative report suggests that families of the party elites own more than $50 million U.S. of luxury homes in Hong Kong. I think this is an indication of the political as well as personal vested interests of Beijing’s top elites in the continued prosperity of Hong Kong. These elites, in turn, form the core support base of President Xi's leadership. Losing this critical support will render the leadership vulnerable.

In many respects, Hong Kong and the national security law are a double-edged sword for the CCP leadership. On the one hand, they want to introduce the law to stop violent protests from wreaking havoc on the economy, which will hurt their interests. On the other hand, the law will invite sanctions, which it has from the U.S., that will erode Hong Kong’s attractiveness as an international capital centre and a regional business hub.

So far, I think the evidence on Hong Kong’s economic competitiveness has been rather mixed. In the past six months, Chinese companies have raised more capital in the Hong Kong stock exchange and deepened its investment in the territory. However, revoking Hong Kong’s special trade status has actually raised the tariff levels to which goods coming into and going out of Hong Kong are subjected, to the same levels as those from mainland China. A recent poll by the American chamber of commerce suggests that four out of 10 companies are planning to move their regional headquarters away from Hong Kong.

This brings me to my next point, which is what actions Canada should or should not take.

As an overall, Canada should send a very clear message that we condemn the repression in Hong Kong and that we stand by the people of Hong Kong. However, in my view, whatever punitive measures we come up with need to pay careful consideration to the dual nature of Hong Kong to the CCP leadership.

Hong Kong is the goose that lays the golden eggs, as well as a rebellious child who needs to be disciplined. This is from the CCP leadership's perspective. If we impose measures that further erode the function of the goose, Hong Kong’s value will diminish to that of a rebellious entity, which we have seen examples of, and the consequences of that are obvious. To put it plainly, if we kill the goose, we may end up hurting Hong Kong’s quest for freedom and autonomy more than helping it.

My second recommendation is that I support Canada opening its doors to welcome immigration and talent from Hong Kong.

My third recommendation is that I would also recommend the Canadian government, as well as the university sector, offer scholarships for students from Hong Kong.

In the short run, I think we should be under no illusion that freedom of expression will return to Hong Kong or that the people of Hong Kong will be given universal suffrage as promised by the Basic Law. Upon the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984, many western observers had hoped that Hong Kong offered a beacon of hope that democracy would one day arrive in China through Hong Kong. This has proved to be a pipe dream so far.

We should also be under no illusion that maintaining trade with China—and trade alone—will push the country to become more open, as many had hoped when they supported China’s entry to the WTO in 2001. Nor should we fool ourselves that if we afford China the respect a country its size deserves, that respect will be reciprocated. The fate of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, who have been detained by China for more than 600 days, suggests it is not a country that plays by the rules. The collateral damage of the pandemic, which no country has managed to escape so far, further illustrates the externalities of China’s authoritarian political system.

I believe that we cannot properly tackle the situation in Hong Kong without addressing how we should cope with the rise of China. I think these two problems are deeply intertwined, so I am pessimistic in the short run. However, in the medium to long run, I believe the resilience of Hong Kong as a city and its people, shaped by a fiercely entrepreneurial, creative and industrious migrant culture, will prevail. I remain hopeful that a vibrant and free Hong Kong will eventually return.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my perspectives.

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much

I want to thank each of the witnesses for keeping it under 10 minutes, which will allow us more time for questions. Before we start questions, I just want to alert members that we probably won't have time for the full two rounds in either this or the second panel, because I'm going to try to balance the two and get us at least close to our time.

We'll begin with Mr. Genuis in the first round for six minutes.

Mr. Genuis, please go ahead.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses.

The Chinese government often tries to use a bogus cultural argument to justify its repression, and for that reason, their efforts to snuff out freedom in Hong Kong are part of a strategy to try to take away freedoms enjoyed by Chinese areas. Of course Taiwan is a similar counter-example. Taiwan shows how Chinese culture is very much compatible with freedom and democracy. I was very struck by the sense that this is one step into Hong Kong and the next step will be Taiwan. We saw a similar pattern of action with, let's say, Nazi Germany going into Czechoslovakia and then to Poland.

Mr. Medeiros, you spoke about Taiwan. How do we arrest this process? How do we respond to the situation in Hong Kong in a way that deters this next step into what likely is the next aggressive action plan by the Xi Jinping regime?

11:50 a.m.

Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Evan S. Medeiros

Thank you very much. It's an excellent question, and I share your concern about what conclusions Beijing might draw.

I think it's important to keep in mind that this is not the prelude to World War II, as there are important historic differences in the situation.

I raised the Taiwan question because I was concerned that if there is insufficient solidarity in the west about the situation in Hong Kong, then if the situation over Taiwan deteriorates in the future, Beijing could come to the conclusion that the costs were worth bearing, that they really weren't that high, and that America, Canada, the U.K. and Australia would eventually get over it.

However, Taiwan is a very different situation, largely because it's physically separated from the mainland and because it would probably take some kind of major military action to bring about the type of situation in Taiwan that China has with Hong Kong. Most basically, it has sovereignty, and the international community recognizes it has sovereignty.

In terms of deterring actions on Taiwan, it fundamentally comes down to a military security type of issue, which is a large feature of U.S. defence policy.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

If I could just follow up, I understand there are always differences when you try to make analogies to historic events.

Is the western response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine perhaps a better analogy? Perhaps Putin had larger designs, but inflicting significant economic and other consequences on Russia because of that invasion didn't stop the annexation of Crimea, however, it slowed down what might have been intended as a larger advance.

Do you think that lesson is applicable, in the sense that a strong, coordinated, international response—and Canada played a leadership role in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine—maybe doesn't stop the current aggression, but it's more likely to deter future aggression by showing that aggression has high costs?

August 17th, 2020 / 11:55 a.m.

Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Evan S. Medeiros

Basically, I agree.

Fundamentally, it comes down to the best diplomatic, economic and military mechanisms that will give Beijing pause about taking future actions.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Okay.

11:55 a.m.

Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Evan S. Medeiros

Something that I've written about was my concern that the moderate international response to the Russian invasion of Georgia didn't cause the invasion of Ukraine, but it definitely created an enabling environment. It was one of the contributing factors.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Yes.

11:55 a.m.

Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Evan S. Medeiros

I think we need to be mindful of that with Hong Kong, but as I and others have stressed, you don't want to shoot the hostage. Killing Hong Kong right now in your effort to deter some notional Chinese response to Taiwan in the future doesn't support either our values or our interests.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Thank you so much. I think the point on Georgia is very interesting.

I want to ask you one more question about multilateral response.

Everybody on this committee believes and every party believes that we want to have a multilateral response. My concern is that sometimes people use the need for multilateralism as an excuse to say we shouldn't act first or we need a multilateral response, so let's sit around and wait for something multilateral to happen. What I heard you say is that responding in a multilateral way means that we start with the coalitions we have and seek to expand them, so we'd be prepared to taken action right now in concert with the United States. We seek to enlarge those coalitions, but we don't wait for some mythical complete coalition to emerge.

What are your thoughts on that?

11:55 a.m.

Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Evan S. Medeiros

Generally, I agree.

The fact that the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia have already started to act is a good thing. I think adding South Korea, Japan and others is smart. I don't think it's a question of inaction; it's a question of how you go bigger and broader in terms of participation.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you.

Mr. Fragiskatos, you have six minutes.