Good evening. My name is Rukiye Turdush. I am an ethnic Uighur Canadian and a Canadian citizen. I would like to testify today on my personal experience and my community's experience regarding China's threat in Canada.
On February 11, 2019, I was invited by McMaster University's Muslim Students' Association to give a speech about the ongoing genocide in East Turkestan. During my speech, a few Chinese students tried to disturb me. One of them filmed the whole presentation and verbally assaulted me with foul language.
I later received from someone leaked screen shot evidence of those Chinese students' group conversation during my speech. They discussed how to disturb me and send recorded video to the group. The guy who recorded me said, “I have all the materials if anyone needs them.” This was clearly intelligence gathering.
Another one said, “How come there are lots of people in this event? We have been told by the embassy to report this event to the Chinese student association and the school.” That means the Chinese embassy informed those Chinese students about the event in advance and instructed them what to do. He also said, “Find out who is her son”, so they can look for my son for whatever purpose. I suspect this person could be a Chinese diplomat or a covert agent.
McMaster's Chinese Student's Association and academics published a joint statement on February 13, and the language of the statement exactly echoes the language of the Chinese Communist Party's false propaganda line. The statement also mentioned that they have reported the incident to the Chinese embassy and sent a complaint letter to the school administration. Later, the embassy of China in Ottawa published a statement praising the so-called patriotism of these students who attacked my freedom of speech.
In fact, my speech was about evidence of China's well-planned, organized, ongoing genocide in East Turkestan. What is clear is that the Chinese Communist Party has encouraged a large number of Chinese students who study in our country to export their propaganda and China's autocratic values to our Canadian soil. They actively tried to undermine Canadian democratic values and freedom of expression.
Chinese police also threaten Uighur Canadian students from 5,000 miles away. Those Uighur students are constantly harassed through video calls that ask them for their school address and information about their status in Canada. Some had no choice but to officially disown the parent-child relationship to protect their parents back home.
Chinese cyber espionage was also very active for many years. They used to keep sending me viruses to destroy my computers and email, especially my blog. For many years, Chinese trolls threatened me through Twitter and YouTube, saying “be careful” and “you are looking for your own death”. I used to ignore them and block them.
Since the McMaster incident attracted huge media attention, they have changed their tactics. They have started to claim that I am a CIA agent funded by the NED and creating fake news, despite the fact that I am not getting any funding from any organization.
I am giving this testimony here today not only because of my personal safety or other human rights activists' safety, but also and most importantly because of the tremendous danger that China poses to the democratic world order, to human rights and to Canadian sovereignty. It is about future of our kids.
That's why the Canadian government should charge covert Chinese agents working for the United Front and pushing the Chinese community to manipulate and influence the Canadian democratic system for the benefit of the CCP. Bring them to court and pass new legislation to define their activity as a crime.
The Canadian government should expel the Chinese diplomats who investigate and encourage the Chinese community and Chinese students to gather intelligence.
To block the CCP's influence and espionage activity in Canada as well as to deal with the digital authoritarianism that enables Uighur genocide, the Canadian government should hold hearings that focus on the potential complicity of Canadian universities. Universities should be required to report all co-operation with Chinese research institutes and companies in fields such as artificial intelligence, big data, smart policing and smart cities, biotech and others.
The Canadian government should support Canadian academics, students, journalists and activists. At the same time, it should crack down on China's illegal espionage activity and China's funding of fake Canadian NGOs. It should also crack down on individuals who deny China's Uighur genocide, attack human rights activists and spread fake news and Chinese state party propaganda on Canadian soil.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify.