New Canadian Media
Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:01

Canon fodder?

By Benjie Oliveros During the time when the Aquino government was defending the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US, it repeatedly claimed that the increased presence of US troops in the country would ‘protect’ the country in the event that the territorial dispute with China escalates into a shooting war. 

The Philippine Reporter

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Published in The Philippines
Friday, 13 March 2015 08:21

NCM NewsFeed: Weekly Newsletter Mar. 13

Our headlines this week: New Canadians' votes matter + doing business with China + the "healthy immigrant effect" + Bill C-51+ new rules for migrant workers + exploring Italian roots + the niqab debate


 

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Here and Now

This week we introduce two new columns: People@Work and Election Watch. People@Work is intended to help new Canadians integrate into the workforce. Election Watch will explore the importance of the new Canadian vote in this year’s federal election.

We also have the final instalment of our three-part investigative series on racism in Winnipeg by our NCM 360° reporting team. And this week we give you a feel for the pulse of Western Europe, an insight on doing business with China, and an introduction to the “healthy immigrant effect.”

People@Work deals with ‘small talk’ in job interview settings: Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, Tana Turner, principal of Turner Consulting Group, and Hamlin Grange, president of DiversiPro, join forces to help you navigate "iceberg" questions loaded with cultural references that are specific to certain ethnic backgrounds and social groups.

Election Watch goes beyond the ‘ethnic vote’ to explain a growing political reality in this country: new Canadians’ votes matter. No federal party can afford to disregard new Canadians, as they are informed, engaged, and inclined to vote, write Inder S. Marwah and Stephen E. White, both SSHRC postdoctoral fellows, along with Phil Triadafilopoulos, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the School of Public Policy and Governance.

Getting past the divide in Winnipeg: Cherise Sucharan looks at how Winnipeg — and the rest of Canada — can combat deeply rooted racism. Her NCM 360° article points out that the recent Maclean’s feature, which labelled Winnipeg as Canada’s most racist city, let other cities off the hook and that the conversation needs to expand to cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

How Chinese and western business cultures meet in Canada is explored by Robin Brown, senior vice-president of consumer insights at Environics Research Group, and Kathy Cheng, the company’s vice-president of cultural market research. The authors explain how Canadians’ success is becoming more dependent on the need to understand China’s business culture.

Why vaccines are crucial for new Canadians is answered by Dr. Ubaka Ogbogu of the University of Alberta, who says although new immigrants are generally healthier than settled immigrants and Canadian-born persons — a phenomenon termed the “healthy immigrant effect” — this advantage is lost when it comes to certain infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV, which are often endemic to the immigrants’ countries of origin. Immigrants’ mortality rates from infectious diseases are also higher than among the Canadian-born population.

Feeling the pulse of Western Europe is Humberta Araújo. While France has dominated the news cycle in 2015, with the Charlie Hebdo shooting receiving wide coverage, here’s a look at what else has been going on in that part of the world and its diaspora, as reported by a variety of ethnic-media outlets.

Williamson tweets apology for ‘offensive and inappropriate language’ on TFWP: Kelsey Johnson of iPolitics broke news last weekend of the Conservative MP telling delegates at the Manning Conference in Ottawa that it makes no sense to pay “whities” to stay home while companies “bring in brown people” as temporary foreign workers. The former PMO director of communications later tweeted that he “used offensive and inappropriate language regarding the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. For this I apologize unreservedly.”

Ripples

A Canadian Tamil family’s alleged detention at Sri Lanka’s main international airport has prompted a Tamil parliamentarian in that country to advise the diaspora not to return. “There is no gain in returning. To my knowledge, a family came to Sri Lanka about ten days back. A father, mother and a child came from Canada. This family was arrested at the airport and detained for more than four hours. The authorities obtained a statement from the family and finally released them,” said Suresh Premachandran of the Tamil National Alliance.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) has expressed concern about the proposed anti-terrorism legislation. “As Canadians, we are concerned about the civil rights implications in Bill C-51, in particular the impact on racialized community groups,” said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress in a press release. “In the past, Tamil Canadians have faced increased scrutiny and negative stereotyping after being falsely tainted with the ‘terrorist’ label.”

A new study by Simon Fraser University (SFU) researcher, Eve Sajoo (pictured), says Vancouver’s third-generation Italians are more interested in maintaining their original cultural identity than their parents and grandparents. SFU’s Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement partnered with Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre on the study to look at possible causes for newfound interest in Italian-language classes. They also wanted to know what’s behind the growth in Italian cultural centres in Seattle, Montreal and Toronto. An interesting finding from the study is that for many respondents, Canada is defined by its ethno-cultural variety — to be Canadian is to be part of a mosaic

Another study, this time in the area of health, has found that the younger a person is when they immigrate to Canada, the higher their risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and its major subtypes, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. While their parents were at lower risk of developing IBD, once they arrive the children of immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia had the same incidence of IBD as the children of non-immigrants, according to a study by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the University of Ottawa. Canada has one of the world’s highest rates of IBD.

Improving trade and economic cooperation between Canada and Macedonia was the focal point of a two-day event dubbed ‘Canadian Days’ last week in Skopje. Organized by Macedonia 2025, the aim was to raise engagement between the two countries. Canada has a Macedonian diaspora of over 250,000 people.

This is no joke and its ripple effect will be felt across the country in the coming months. As of April 1, 2015, migrant workers in low-wage occupations who have worked in Canada for four years will not be able to renew their work permits and will have to wait another four years before being able to return and  work in the country. As this “four and four” rule applies to temporary foreign workers under various streams, the Migrant Workers Alliance has put out a factsheet for those likely to be impacted.

Harmony Jazz

Following Liberal Leader Trudeau’s Toronto speech accusing the federal government of sowing fear and prejudice against Muslims, and the political jousting that followed, Conservative Senator Marjory Lebreton admits that the Tories are getting a "bad rap with Muslims.” In one of the more thoughtful and stronger commentaries on the issue, Michael den Tandt looks at the substance and strategy behind Trudeau’s remarks.

The government’s messaging is mixed. At the Manning Conference, Minister for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney used Obama-like rhetoric, noting Canadian Muslims’ help in the fight against extremism. And Treasury Board President Tony Clement said in an interview that Muslim women in the public service are perfectly free to wear the niqab. But then Minister Kenney tweeted an image of women dressed in burqas and chained at the wrists, assuming it to depict ISIS oppression but actually from a Shia Ashura ceremonial procession — akin to Christian re-enactments of the Crucifixion.

Lastly, two articles from France — how young Muslims often straddle two worlds and a French rabbi’s efforts to engage Muslims in the suburbs of Paris — and an interesting look at the shadowy world of birth tourism at ‘maternity hotels’ in the United States.

Back Pocket

Here’s a story of an Indian who spent a lot of time watching films as boy before realizing his dream in Canada and making one of his own. As his debut feature film Blood Empires debuts at various film festivals before its release in cinemas, Peter Rajesh Joachim is back in his hometown of Bengaluru recounting his journey and prepping for his next film. “This year I’m planning two films — one is a joint collaboration between India and Canada, and we are looking for visionary producers who will invest one crore [ten million Indian rupees] in it. I’m still knocking on doors. The second is a Tamil-Kannada combination script I’m working on for a feature film. I’m a Tamilian and I watch a lot of Tamil cinema. But I think in English and write in English,” says Joachim, explaining his bearings.

And finally, here's a Vancouver-raised model who went abroad for success, signing a deal with the Canadian Tourism Commission to front its campaign in Asia. Standing at an impressive 6-foot-4, Godfrey Gao (pictured) worked as a “living mannequin” in British Columbia. But as he wanted more, he left for Taiwan to further his career. His gamble paid off and in 2011 he was hired by Louis Vuitton to become its first Asian model.



With that, have a great weekend and don’t forget to look up the next edition of NCM NewsFeed every Friday!

Publisher’s Note: This NewsFeed was compiled with input from our Newsroom Editors and regular columnist, Andrew Griffith. We welcome your feedback.

 

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Published in Top Stories

by Robin Brown (@RobinBrown) and Kathy Cheng in Toronto

Twenty years ago, the British/South Asian comedy show, Goodness Gracious Me, ran a skit where a British employee at an Indian firm needed to change his name from Jonathan because it was deemed too foreign and hard to pronounce. Behind the parody was the fact that South Asians in Britain often felt they needed to adopt English names to succeed.

At that time, globalization was seen as a result of the increasing influence of Western culture and ideas across the globe. The East needed to adapt to the West. Twenty years later, after a global financial crisis, that power equation has shifted.

Growing Chinese Influence on Business

Those working in Canada’s resources sector have long been conscious of the East’s power (specifically China’s) as their fortunes are often tied to it. For many of us working in Canada’s marketing services, however the reality of our global situation was brought into sharp focus by the recent acquisition of Cossette Communications’ parent company by China’s BlueFocus Communications.

[I]t is hard to see how the nature and impact of China’s business culture will evolve as the country interacts with the world in its new more diverse and influential role.

As China’s influence on business in Canada and the world grows, our success becomes more dependent on a need to understand China’s business culture. The West has gained much of its early understanding of Chinese business culture not from working with the vast population of mainland China, but from Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, as well as the Chinese diaspora.

Of course, our learning has increased, as China rapidly entered the global economy over the last 20 years. But this has provided the West a specific view of China and Chinese businesses primarily in the role of a lender, a consumer of resources and a vast network of producers – all often entangled with the bureaucracy of the state. From that angle, it is hard to see how the nature and impact of China’s business culture will evolve as the country interacts with the world in its new more diverse and influential role.

Business Culture and Ethnic Culture

Ethnic culture differs from a company’s business culture, but has an influence on the way business is conducted. For this reason, it makes sense to look at how China’s ethnic culture may differ from other nations.

Our own research at Environics has shown the differences between the Chinese and Canadian cultures. One of the most widely used tools, developed by Geert Hofstede, shows how Chinese culture differs from Canadian culture on six primary dimensions.

Canada, in line with much of what is called “the West,” is more individualistic than collectivist China (see chart). China tends to be more hierarchical compared to the more egalitarian Canada (see “power-distance” on chart), as well as more pragmatic.

So, on a practical level, what do those working with Chinese companies need to be aware of to have a successful relationship?

Chinese “Pragmatism”

One aspect of Chinese culture that we already see impacting business culture is what Hofstede calls “pragmatism.” He says that, “In societies with a pragmatic orientation, people believe that truth depends very much on situation, context and time. They show an ability to adapt traditions easily to changed conditions.”

Many in the West attribute China’s manufacturing success to low costs, especially of labour, but that is not all that lies behind Chinese manufacturers’ ability to shift quickly depending on their circumstances. The ability of Chinese manufacturers to respond quickly, for example, to Steve Jobs’ sudden demand for an unscratchable glass iPhone screen has become part of business lore. Behind this agility are a number of factors and important among them is the Chinese position on the pragmatic cultural dimension.

Cultural Characteristics Impact Business

Generally, a result of this cultural characteristic is the perspective that each situation needs to be evaluated independently from accepted rules. Just because one rule has worked in the past doesn’t mean it should apply now. For rule-oriented Canadian businesses, that can cause tensions. It can even raise complaints about a lack of integrity or at least fairness, just as some of the American manufacturers who watched their Chinese competitors pivot to produce iPhone glass screens surely thought that’s not fair - they’re not following the rules.

And this is one area where we will find the seeds of progress that the interaction between these two cultures create; the combination of best business practices developed in the West with Chinese pragmatism and the business agility it fosters.

That is not to imply that Chinese businesses are not interested in learning and, if appropriate, following the best practices that have been developed in the West. This is where we suspect we will find the seeds of progress that the interaction between these two cultures create; the leveraging of best practices developed over years of experience in an agile manner. The fact that Chinese business culture has been born into a highly dynamic market will likely contribute to the country’s “pragmatic” cultural character as well as its ethnicity. China can embrace new approaches more easily without the pain of wrestling with the past, just as consumers in developing markets have “leap frogged” the West in adoption of mobile and digital technologies.

The interaction between Chinese pragmatism and Western business protocols will cause conflict. We have seen it in our own experience. Overcoming that conflict is of course important to those involved. The key for both Western and Chinese businesses to prosper side by side is to take the cultural diversity and even the conflict that it might generate and turn it into progress. And this is one area where we will find the seeds of progress that the interaction between these two cultures create; the combination of best business practices developed in the West with Chinese pragmatism and the business agility it fosters.

Individualist Canada versus Collectivist China

The difference between an individualist outlook and a collectivist outlook creates an enormous amount of cultural tension and misunderstanding. Individualism values one person standing up, with a loud voice and doing his or her own thing. Collectivism values working together within an accepted set of protocols with an eye on the collective goals.

Cultural differences, if understood and managed well, are seeds to progress.

As Western companies have expanded outside of their domestic markets, they have encouraged an individualistic business culture. The assumption in the West is that individualism fosters creativity and allows the brightest to shine and be rewarded. As China’s influence expands, Chinese businesses will carry their collectivist ethnic culture with them. Will that create conflicts and misunderstandings just like it did when Japan’s influence extended across the globe? It likely will. But tension can be fertile soil for progress. And the West should be open to the notion that individualist values are not always superior.

A recent experiment into creativity led by Dr. Gad Saad of Concordia University attempted to test the difference between the way collectivist and individualist cultures generate ideas. What it found implied that individualist cultures were more creative in that they did indeed generate more ideas. But collectivist cultures, where the group focuses on perfecting ideas, generated fewer, but better, ideas. Again, we see opportunities for progress in the interaction between these two cultural modes. It may be simplistic, but if individualism generates more ideas and collectivism creates better ideas, we can manage the interaction between cultures to generate more and better ideas! 

Cultural differences, if understood and managed well, are seeds to progress. Some of the greatest ideas of human history have been born from cultural tensions, often developed from commercial interactions. As cultures mingled and clashed in the trading cities on the fringes of the Roman Empire or the colonial outposts during the spice trade era, powerful new ideas and ways of looking at the world were born. Now opportunities to build new ideas through the interaction of distinct cultures are emerging as the influence of the East rises. The future belongs to those in both the East and the West who can develop the “transcultural competence” to take full advantage of them.


Robin Brown is Senior Vice-President, Consumer Insights and Kathy Cheng is Vice-President, Cultural Markets Research at Environics Research Group, a research and consulting firm. They are the authors of Migration Nation, A Practical Guide to Doing Business if Globalized Canada.

 

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

 

 

 

 

Published in Economy

Beijing: Thousands of Chinese viewers illegally downloaded the new season of “House of Cards” after streaming site Sohu failed to release the American political drama when Netflix rolled out all 13 episodes in late February. Entertainment magazine Variety cited piracy-tracking firm Excipio as saying China was the largest source of illicit downloads in the first […]

The Weekly Voice

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Published in China

According to Boston Consulting Group, China will count 700 million internet users in 2015. They include not only young and urban individuals, but also seniors and rural residents. The web has become “a staple in Chinese daily life” and a popular digital culture has developed with the Netizens as trend-setters. In order to help you better understand Chinese internet language, I sum up the top 5 things you need to know to understand Chinese Netspeak.

Asian Pacific Post

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Published in China

OTTAWA—Liberal MP and former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler rose in the House of Commons on Feb. 19 to give voice to demands that the Chinese regime end its practice of killing prisoners of conscience and harvesting their organs.

Cotler, the Liberal Party’s critic for rights and freedoms and international justice, tabled six petitions on behalf of some 3,000 Canadians concerned about forced organ harvesting by the Chinese Communist regime.

Epoch Times

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Published in China

 by Shan Qiao in Toronto 

Chinese people said goodbye to the Year of the Horse, welcoming the Year of the Sheep.

In the Chinese media this week, the housing market; our spiritual home; ties between Canada and China; and our Chinese representatives in the government were the main focus.

North York Town Home Owners Fight Against Toronto Catholic District School Board’s Offer 

North York townhome owners put up lawn signs to fight against the TCDSB

The housing market in Toronto has never been this hot and it seems that any given location listed is receiving bidding wars.

That’s not the case for the town homes at Bayview and Cummer Ave. The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) wants to buy the land and expropriate all 30 town homes on it to build a high school. Their offer is $800,000 but the homeowners want at least $1.2M, according to Ming Pao Daily News.

When the homeowners were approached by TCDSB in 2013, most of them (one-third are Chinese) declined TCDSB’s offer.

Today, a dozen white lawn signs with “Stop” written in red capital letters show the fight between the two sides, with homeowners claiming they’re under threat of “Expropriation-based blockbusting” by the board.

Ming Pao Daily has interviewed several Chinese homeowners and realtors, indicating the market price is not $800,000 as the TCDSB offered. Realtor Shusheng Wu said that one unit was listed for $888,000 in 2013. A nearby new development unit at Finch Ave. and Leslie St. was recently listed for over $1 million. The report said there were homeowners asking for $1.2 million with no offer from the board.

Homeowner Mrs. Auyoung said it was not fair for people like her who have been living in the area for more than a dozen years. With familiar neighbours living closely and easy access to public transit, not to mention the freehold property and double garage, many of them feel it’s very hard to find any equivalent property in the area. 

Mrs. Lee, another resident, argued that paying only $800,000 to each homeowner will cost the board a total of $24 million, enough to build a new school without even counting the cost of a lengthy expropriation procedure and paperwork. The board’s insistence to get this land is another example of wasting taxpayer’s money.

Chinese-Canadians Ask Chinese Government to Issue 10-Year Visa

With more Chinese immigrating to Canada and becoming Canadians, going back to their home country easily is not always an option. Chinese foreign policy doesn’t grant duel citizenship, hence Chinese immigrants who have become Canadian will have to apply for visas to go back like other foreigners. Currently, the Chinese government only offers single or multiple entries from three months to one year, while the community is asking for a convenient 10-year multiple entry visitor visa that is equivalent to Canada’s 10-year “Super Visa.” 

The concerning topic affects almost every Chinese person now or in the future. An online petition has been launched by a Toronto-based popular Chinese website www.51.ca and two dozen local Chinese associations, urging China to address their needs.

Major Chinese media organizations have covered the story. According to Sing Tao Daily Newspaper, more than sixty overseas Chinese associations joined the petition from the west coast. The petition has been sent to MP for Vancouver-South Wai Young’s office. The NDP’s Don Davies, MP for Vancouver Kingsway, in the meantime, has tabled a motion asking Beijing to allow 10-year, multi-entry visas for frequent travelers between Canada and China. 

The good news is that the Chinese government is seriously considering this, according to Liu Fei, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver during a recent interview at a dinner gala. She said the 10-year Chinese super visa for visitors, business people and tourists will soon be available in the near future.

Chamshan Temple’s Peterborough Project Derailed After Paying $20 Million To Alleged Unqualified Developer

A prominent Buddhist Temple in North America, Chamshan Temple, has expanded to 11 locations in Ontario during the past several decades. It is the biggest Buddhist association in the country and has recently invested $40 million to build the “Wu Taishan Buddhist Garden” in Peterborough. The construction work started in 2011, with more than 20 construction companies participating in Canada and from China. However, the Chinese company Golden Luban, which is responsible for the Mahavira Hall’s wooden structure, is involved in a lawsuit that is jeopardizing the project.

The news first broke out by Chamshan Temple’s sudden news conference, alleging Golden Luban has no qualification to carry on the work; hence, Chamshan Temple terminated their contract unilaterally. The bad news is that the Temple has already paid $20 million to the company with little chance to get it all back.

The construction company’s legal representative, Guo Yongrao, claimed that the company has more than three decades experience in the industry. There is no definition of what kind of qualifications the Temple requires in the contract that the two parties have signed. He also argued that the Temple has overlooked if there was such a requirement by international or Canadian laws and that the company has no legal obligation to return the deposit, according to Singtao Daily News.

No announcement has been made after the two parties’ heated media war in January. Chamshan Temple said they tried to minimize the damage and push the construction back on track.

Asked about why the Temple chose Guo’s Chinese company without thorough examination on its credentials, Dayi Master, spokesperson for the Temple sighed and said: “Our Buddhists are so naïve to believe Guo, a so-called sincere Buddhist follower, and his company,” according to Singtao Daily News.  

Did MP C.S. Leung Offend the Iranian Community by Asking “Why Do You Come to Canada?”

Conservative MP for Willowdale C.S. Leung attended a town hall meeting last month in his riding where many Iranian immigrants live. According to 51 Weekly, Leung confronted Iranians when they complained about Canada and complimented Iran. Leung was caught on camera arguing, “Let me ask you, if you like Iran so much, then why do you come to Canada?”

The question immediately angered the participants with even one firing back, saying “And I can tell you, go back to China.” Leung is a Taiwan-born Canadian businessman who was elected in 2011. 

Leung has since released an open letter, saying, “I uncharacteristically responded in a way that was not professional. Although I felt attacked by some in the audience, I should not have responded in the way that I did.”

51 Weekly columnist Xinfeng praised Leung’s courage to step forward and take responsibility to defend Canada. He argued that those Iranians who immigrated to Canada inconveniently forgot their own country’s dark side. With UN sanctions and Canada cutting ties to Iran, difficulties such as Iranian passport renewal or money transfers between the two countries should be expected. Yet, Xinfeng also said that out of the approximately 120,000 Iranians living in Canada, he believes only a handful of people complain about Canada. 

A YouTube video of Conservative MP Chungsen Leung’s heated debate with Iranian-Canadians.

How Difficult is it for a Chinese Academic to Become a Professor in Canada?

51 Weekly wrote a feature exploring a lingering pain for Chinese academics: How difficult it is to become a professor in Canada? 

Zhenzhong Ma, Professor at the University of Windsor and Chair of the Odette School of Business, shared his own example in the feature article. He said it takes about six years to progress from assistant professor to associate professor with a yearly evaluation. Being a tenure means a professor’s contract with the university is permanent and secured. That explains why it is not easy to get a job opportunity if there is no vacancy.

The feature also claimed that based on statistics, “white” professors make up about 87% of professors in Canadian universities and those of Chinese background only make up four per cent.

Charlie Huang, a university lecturer, expressed his stress while on his long way of seeking tenure. He said he finds it is very difficult to apply for research funds, not necessarily because of his language and cultural background or even social skills. He has been a lecturer for five years, yet the pressure of talking in English properly was stressful during his first two years. He also hired a local language trainer to help him understand his students’ different accents and improve his English listening skills.


Shan Qiao is a Toronto-based photojournalist who used to work as a daily newspaper reporter. She currently runs her own company, Shan Qiao Photography, specialized in corporate event, editorial photos for news distribution and photo stories. She is also a feature writer for different corporate publications. See her work: www.qshan.com 

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in China
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 18:01

Is Weibo on the Way Out?

China’s internet watchdogs have threatened to enforce real-name registration before. But this time, they’re adamant all Chinese citizens must provide their real names and identification numbers before using social media sites starting on 1 March. Nicknames can be used on the sites, but only after users hand over their personal details to the government. […]

The Weekly Voice

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Published in China

by Truman Kwan (@TrumanKwan) in Toronto

When countries experience turbulent times, large populations of people often look to migrate. Canada is often a country people seek out. Hong Kong is no exception. In the 1980s and ’90s, both the hand off of the island’s sovereignty between the U.K. and China as well as the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, led to mass migrations of Hong Kongers to Canada, as well as the United States and Australia.

With the recent Occupy Central movement – which started when associate law professor for the University of Hong Kong, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, called upon thousands of protestors to “paralyze” the streets of Hong Kong’s financial hub – it seems turbulent times have again surfaced. Something that started as a peaceful protest soon turned into a chaotic battlefield. The protest, which many students were involved in, aimed to send a message to the Beijing and Hong Kong governments to implement a fair election in 2017 for the chief executive position in Hong Kong.

So with many against the movement, the question is will history repeat itself? Will the chaotic situation of Occupy Central lead to a spike in migration from Hong Kong?

A recent survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong showed that 83 per cent of Hong Kongers want Occupy Central to end. The survey also showed that about 55 per cent of the 513 survey respondents said they are opposed to the movement and only 28 per cent supported it.

So with many against the movement, the question is will history repeat itself? Will the chaotic situation of Occupy Central lead to a spike in migration from Hong Kong to nations like Canada, the U.S. and Australia?

Researchers Say No

Ronald Skeldon, a professor in the department of geography in the school of global studies at the University of Sussex, has spent a number of years studying Hong Kong migration. He recently worked on a study titled Hong Kong’s Future Population and Manpower Needs to 2030. He says he doesn’t think the number of Hong Kong immigrants arriving in Canada this year will change much from previous years (in recent years Canada has seen its most immigrants arrive from mainland China, India and the Philippines, he says). As for Occupy Central, he says it all started with a group of people wishing to change the voting system in Hong Kong, which indicates a loyalty to their nation.

“[The protesters] could be seen as committed to Hong Kong,” he explains. “They will presumably not want to leave,” adding that this could change if there is increased amounts of violence.

Skeldon also does not see any lasting effects in Occupy Central that would make people want to emigrate from Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong still functioned, and people were still attracted to the city.” - Ronald Skeldon, University of Sussex professor

“Members of the public, while inconvenienced, were still making money,” he says. “Hong Kong still functioned, and people were still attracted to the city.”

According to Skeldon, he doesn’t believe there would be any major increase of immigrants landing in Canada. Even if there were an influx of Hong Kong immigrants, the overall numbers would not be more than the previous years, he adds. Skeldon says he expects the likes of Ukraine and the “troubled” countries of the Middle East to be more growing sources of immigrants than Hong Kong. He doesn’t see this changing anytime soon.

What the Community Says

Philip Woo, born in Canada and now living in Hong Kong, working at the country’s South China Morning Post news publication, is in agreement with Skeldon. He doesn’t see why most Hong Kongers would feel the need to leave unless they were affected directly by the Occupy movement – that is, living in the Central or Mong Kok districts where the protests actually take place. “If people had the option to [migrate], then yes,” Woo says. “But not everyone is like that.”

Sandra Kong emigrated from Hong Kong to Canada in 1995 and has lived in Toronto for 20 years. Kong, 53, is just one of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese living in Canada. Before emigrating, she worked at Occidental Chemical Company in China as executive secretary for John Kamm, who is the founder of the human rights group Dui Hua Foundation.

“China is still far from achieving a democratic government, so people are likely to leave for the west until it does.” - Sandra Kong, Canadian resident

Having migrated to Canada during the ’90s, Kong sees things differently than Woo and Skelton. Kong says the increase of Chinese immigrants in Canada is very likely, and at the same time, very promising.

“There are lots of learned individuals in China who are pro-democracy,” she explains. “China is still far from achieving a democratic government, so people are likely to leave for the west until it does.”

Looking at the Occupy movement, Kong says there will be a portion of Hong Kongers that will in fact look to migrate elsewhere, Canada being one viable option.

She also says she would agree with those who wish to immigrate away from Hong Kong, not so much because of the short-term damage the Occupy movement has done to the city, but because it is breeding a distorted representation of democracy. Kong says that distorted democracy is what will cause long-term damages to Hong Kong.

“[The protesters’] actions are not only disruptive to the city, but it’s motivated by selfish intents,” she states.

“Hong Kongers will think about moving out of the city, but it might not be immediately. It will really depend on whether the situation gets worse. - Janie Lau, Hong Kong resident

Janie Lau has yet a different opinion. Currently studying in Hong Kong, Lau supports the Occupy movement, but at times even she considered leaving there due to the state of how things were looking. Lau says she had thought about starting a life in Canada, as she has relatives living in Toronto.

“Hong Kongers will think about moving out of the city, but it might not be immediately,” explains Lau. “It will really depend on whether the situation gets worse, and by the time the problem is resolved, there would be no point in emigrating.”

She explains that leaving home is a difficult choice, and most people in Hong Kong don’t have the option to emigrate. Lau says the house prices in Hong Kong are increasing each year, and it’s difficult to find another place once you leave.

“We try and push the Hong Kong government to promise us a better life, and we are still trying,” she says. “But there is no guarantee that we will also find that better life right away after emigrating to somewhere else.”

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in China

Whether the China stock markets fare well or not, the Chinese economy is always a point of discussion in world financial circles. The last two years it had lost ground but this year thanks to the landmark opening of the Hong Kong- China stock market corridor on November 17, whereby international investors have higher and better access to stocks traded in mainland China, the Shanghai composite index has surged by 52.9%! However, in the small enclave of Hong Kong the Hang Seng lost 1.28%.

The Weekly Voice

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Published in India

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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