31 years ago today, the Chinese Communist Party violently crushed student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
The students were demanding government accountability, democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. These are values that we as Canadians hold dear.
The Chinese Communist Party on June 4th, 1989 decided the best way to deal with young students demanding reform is to crush them with tanks and bullets.
For many years, the West clung to hope that China would join the free international order. That hope was lost when Xi Jinping came to power. Xi abolished the two-term limit on the presidency, cracked down on protests in Hong Kong, and rolled back fragile civil liberties many mainland Chinese activists worked hard to build over the past decade.
This August, China will conduct a military exercise to control the crucial waterway in the South China Sea. China used to disguise its ambitions in the past but now brashly displays them for all to see.
A China that does not respect the rule of law under the leadership of Xi is dangerous to the world. It attempts to export its authoritarian model everywhere, including Canada.
Today, the Chinese Canadian Diaspora is facing unprecedented censorship, threat and bullying from the Chinese government.
Chinese international students who disagree with the regime have had their parents questioned by national security agents back home.
Chinese Canadians of Mainland origin have had their WeChat account suspended or permanently blocked for posting dissenting views.
Chinese Canadians of Hong Kong background were repeatedly harassed by the tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party in Canada wherever they demonstrated and protested.
This behavior from China is unacceptable on Canadian soil.
Our distrust of the Chinese government did not just start with their cover up of COVID19 or the unlawful imprisonment of Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor. Decades of violations of human rights, labour rights, women’s rights and the rights of religious minorities amongst their own citizens has formed the reputation of the Chinese Communist Party.
The people of China are victims of that regime.
To underscore that fact, the Hong Kong vigil for the victims of Tiananmen square has been banned for the first time this year.
Being angry at China is not enough. We need to fundamentally recalibrate our relations with China.
As Prime Minister of Canada, I will lead such change by crafting policies which set boundaries for China’s activities within Canada, while protecting Canadian interests at home and abroad.