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VANCOUVER (LifeSiteNews) – As China cracks down on long-standing civil and religious freedoms in Hong Kong, British Columbian politicians gathered to celebrate the takeover. 

At an event sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic Trade office on June 23 in Vancouver, former Conservative MP Alice Wong, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, and Asia Pacific Foundation CEO Jeff Nankivell joined Chinese consul general Tong Xiaoling as VIPs for the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 

Outside the event, protesters demonstrated against the Chinese Communist Party for its erosion of the democratic system and autonomy guaranteed to Hong Kong in 1997 under the “one country, two systems” arrangement with the British government, called the Basic Law. The arrangements of the treaty were to last until 2047. 

In 2020, however, mainland China imposed a National Security Law which allows the communist government to arrest its opponents and curtail the religious and political freedoms previously enjoyed on the island. 

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Fenella Sung of Vancouverites Concerned about Hong Kong took issue with Canadian leaders showing public support for China’s communist regime. 

“Given the huge influence of Hong Kong immigrants, or those who came by way of the Hong Kong pathway, seeking refuge here in Canada to start a new life in the past two or three years, I think we cannot allow ourselves to just be so naive, or just be so willfully blind to just look at the invitation as no harm,” she said. 

“I would say the celebration of the handover,” Sung went on, “at this particular point in time, in Canada, it cannot be called or seen as an equivalent of a multicultural event representing the Hong Kong or Chinese community in Richmond.” 

Sung denounced the attendance of Canadian leaders at the event as a gesture expressing more concern with establishing a relationship with China rather than one of support for the local Asian community in British Columbia. 

“When people attend those events, you are not just being polite, you are encouraging and fostering the relationship with that foreign power. You’re… not cultivating a relationship with your electorate or community. You are fostering and building relationship with that foreign power with their representatives there.” 

According to the Richmond News, “The issue of foreign influence and interference is active in Richmond after the September 2021 federal election saw accusations of pro-Beijing messaging and misinformation on Chinese state-controlled social media (WeChat) against then-Steveston-Richmond East Conservative MP Kenny Chiu, who lost.” 

The political gesture also comes at a time of heightened scrutiny regarding Rome’s relationship with Beijing. The Vatican recently announced its intention to renew its agreement with the CCP on the appointment of bishops, denounced many times by Cardinal Zen as a “betrayal” of the underground Catholic Church in China.  

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Meanwhile, the European Parliament last Thursday called on the Vatican to support former Hong Kong bishop Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was arrested by the CCP in May and awaits trial. In its resolution, the Parliament strongly condemned the arrest, calling it “an attack on the freedoms guaranteed in the Hong Kong Basic Law, including the freedom of religion or belief.”

The resolution identified Zen’s arrest and that of the other four trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, a pro-democracy group, as “symptomatic of the continued efforts of the People’s Republic of China to systematically destroy the last remnants of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and to suppress the pro-democracy movement.” 

A recent Reuters report also revealed that the Vatican has been aware of the increased persecution of the Church in Hong Kong. The report said an unofficial Vatican mission began transferring files from Hong Kong to Rome as early as 2019, and earlier this year a Vatican envoy warned Hong Kong’s Catholic missions to prepare for coming persecution.