Major Chinese media outlets had Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, in their headlines after the Globe and Mail published a controversial investigative feature on him last Tuesday.
During an interview conducted right after the Globe published the story, Chan told Ming Pao that he has previously read articles about himself published in Chinese media that were similar to the Globe’s piece.
Chan told Sing Tao that the Globe’s intention in publishing the article before a federal election with Chinese candidates running for office is questionable.
“I feel confused,” Chan said to Ming Pao. “During many events I have participated [in], I have heard from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I have heard from Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney, I have heard from Senator Victor Oh that Canada needs to develop its relations with China. I am doing this job, yet I was investigated by CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) and I was criticized by the newspaper.”
He continued: “Should we develop Canada-China relations? Or should the person who promotes Canada-China relations be investigated? I am waiting for an answer from the Prime Minister.”
Attempt to Discourage Chinese-Canadians from Politics?
Ming Pao also interviewed Geng Tan, who is a federal Liberal candidate in Toronto’s Don Valley North riding, and whom Chan strongly supported.
Tan blasted the Globe’s report and indicated the story is nothing but mud throwing at the Chinese community. “The report suggests [a] Liberal candidate who has [a] mainland Chinese immigrant background has close ties with the Chinese government. It wants to discourage Chinese immigrants from participating in [Canadian] politics,” he told Ming Pao. He asserted that he would still run for office despite the Globe’s report.
Sing Tao, another major Chinese-language daily newspaper, also published an interview with Chan on its front page. Chan told Sing Tao that he “absolutely has no idea why the Globe would publish something as old as five years ago.” The CSIS briefing on Chan occurred in 2010.
Yang Yundong said the story was unfair and discriminatory to Chan and the Chinese community. He went on to say judging Chan to have lesser loyalties to Canada because he emigrated from China and helps develop the relations between China and Canada is wrong.
Chan told Sing Tao that the Globe’s intention in publishing the article before a federal election with Chinese candidates running for office is questionable. He encouraged Chinese-Canadians not to feel fearful and to still take an active role in Canadian politics. They should be more involved in election campaigns and help their candidates, he added.
What Chan said echoes the open letter he put out after the Globe’s report, which stated: “I would like to continue to encourage newer Canadians to consider taking an active role in public life. This is essential for our society to progress. They should not be discouraged by the fear of allegations that the everyday actions of newer Canadians need to be minutely examined to determine if they somehow have lesser loyalties to this country.”
Sing Tao also published a statement made by Yang Yundong, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Canada, in its follow-up story the next day. In the statement, Yundong said the story was unfair and discriminatory to Chan and the Chinese community. He went on to say judging Chan to have lesser loyalties to Canada because he emigrated from China and helps develop the relations between China and Canada is wrong.
The statement also said that there are many Canadians living and working in China, such as Dashan (Mark Rowswell), a well-known comedian who rose to fame in the early ’90s. “They use their own way to connect China with Canada and we appreciate them,” the statement concluded.
Shan is a photojournalist and event photographer based in Toronto with more than a decade of experience. From Beijing Olympic Games to The Dalai Lama in Exile, she has covered a wide range of editorial assignments.