Pro-Beijing Groups in Canada Hold Event to Denounce Hong Kong Democracy Protesters

TORONTO—Just two days before news emerged that China has mobilized troops near the Hong Kong border, a group of pro-Beijing organizations held a rally in the Toronto area against protesters in Hong Kong. The Aug. 11 event in Markham featured former Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan as a speaker.

The demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June against an extradition bill that would enable authorities to send those wanted by Beijing to the mainland. Since then the protesters have evolved in their demands, requesting more democracy and autonomy from Beijing as well as an inquiry into police brutality. The Hong Kong government has suspended the bill, but so far has refused to withdraw it.

Chan’s ties to Beijing was the subject of a warning to the provincial government in 2010 by then-head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Richard Fadden, according to a report by The Globe and Mail. Chan has launched a lawsuit against the Globe over the report.

A notice about the Toronto rally said the event included former Ontario MPP Han Dong, who is now seeking the Liberal nomination for Don Valley North. In a Facebook post, Dong distanced himself from the event, saying that neither he nor anyone from his campaign attended it.

The rally was reportedly meant to “support stability and peace in Hong Kong, for a better Hong Kong and China.”

Among the organizations attending were the Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations (CTCCO), Beijing Association, and Council of Newcomer Organizations, which was founded by Liberal MP Geng Tan.


Speakers addressing the rally included well-known figures in the Chinese community who are go-to persons for the Chinese consulate, including Ping Tan and Wei Chengyi. Ping Tan, Wei, and Geng Tan have all been past executive members of the CTCCO. At the rally, Ping Tan was representing the Chinese Canadians for China’s Reunification (GTA) (CCCR) group.

The organizations have also been among those posting ads in local Chinese publications in Canada in support of the crackdown on Hong Kong protesters.

Both the CCCR and CTCCO ran ads in Chinese publication Today Commercial News in July to speak out against the Hong Kong protests. The publication is in part funded by Sally Aw, former owner of the overseas Chinese-language publication Sing Tao.

The National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC), of which Ping Tan was also an executive, ran a similar ad on the front page of the Ontario edition of Sing Tao.

Pro-Beijing groups in Vancouver have also recently printed ads in Sing Tao, as well as another major Chinese-language publication, Ming Pao, calling protesters “radicals.” Signatories of the ad include CTCCO, CCCR, and many others.

China Pushing ‘New World Media Order’ to Suppress Dissent, Report Says

TAIPEI, Taiwan—The Chinese regime is pushing its own model of media control and propaganda around the world, with a particular focus on influencing U.S. political and business elite, according to a new report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).


The report (pdf), released on March 25 and titled “China’s Pursuit of A New World Media Order,” details the communist regime’s different tactics to export the “Chinese media model,” a system in which “journalists are nothing more than state propaganda auxiliaries.”

These tactics include expanding the presence of China’s state-run media globally, hosting training sessions in China for foreign journalists, harassing and intimidating overseas journalists and academics, and employing a “trojan horse policy” by having foreign media carry its propaganda through advertorials and targeted advertisements.

Global Reach

The regime is now pouring as much as 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) a year into disseminating its views globally, the report says. As a result of this investment, which began during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Chinese state-run media has significantly ramped up its presence worldwide.

According to the report, the international arm of China’s state-owned broadcaster, China Global Television Network, now broadcasts in at least 140 countries with 70 bureaus, while state-owned China Radio International broadcasts in 65 languages from more than 70 stations worldwide.

Meanwhile, in the United States and elsewhere, the regime has paid prestigious media outlets to carry propaganda supplements, made to look like news, in an effort to sway public and elite opinion, says the report.

China Watch, an English-language propaganda supplement edited by China’s state-run mouthpiece China Daily, is currently inserted into about 30 daily newspapers around the world, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Daily Telegraph, the report says, citing a 2018 article by The Guardian.

“The ultimate purpose for Beijing is, of course, to influence U.S. policymakers,” Cédric Alviani, East Asia Bureau Director of RSF and report author, told The Epoch Times.

Alviani explained that these prestigious newspapers were deliberately chosen by the regime because their readers include society’s influencers.

“China is talking to the leaders, talking or trying to influence the leaders’ opinions,” he said.

The report, citing unnamed U.S. media professionals, estimated that a leading outlet could receive around $250,000 by agreeing to have China Watch inserted in its newspapers. This agreement then “exposes these media outlets to the possibility of being pressured by Beijing.”

“The problem is that, sooner or later, when [these media] publish content that the Chinese authorities do not like, the [Chinese] ambassadors will come to see them, and tell them, do you want to keep the China Watch supplement or not,” Alviani said.

“When you really put that in your budget it is very hard to say no.”

At the same time, readers of the newspapers may also be tricked into believing these supplements are written or endorsed by these leading outlets, the report author said.

“It is a big threat to the independence of the media,” he said.

The report also draws attention to the overseas Chinese-language media landscape, which it says has mostly been co-opted by the Chinese regime.

“In the U.S. nowadays, there are very few Chinese-language titles that are not being controlled by the Chinese authorities,” Alviani said.

The report described The Epoch Times, as well as its sister outlet NTD, and U.S.-based news site China Digital Times, as the few truly independent diaspora media.

The Epoch Times, founded in 2000 as a Chinese-language outlet, is headquartered in New York, and now publishes in more than 23 languages, and distributed or sold in more than 35 countries.

“[The] Epoch Times is a reliable resource, which … we use a lot at RSF, whenever it is related to prisoners in China, or to violations of human rights, and especially the press freedom in China,” Alviani said.

Such overseas media and journalists, the report says, who refuse to toe the regime’s editorial line have been subject to intimidation, harassment, or have had advertisers unexpectedly pull out of their publications.

The report cites two incidents of harassment or pressure targeting The Epoch Times—one involving a staff member, and another its Australian branch office.

In 2006, Li Yuan, the outlet’s chief technical officer, was beaten, tied up, blindfolded with duct tape, and robbed of two laptop computers by suspected Chinese agents at his suburban Atlanta home.

Later in 2017, Apple stopped advertising in the Australian edition of The Epoch Times and another independent Chinese-language publication Vision China Times because of Beijing’s political pressure, the report says, citing an article by The Australian.

Other Overseas Media

Beijing has been buying up shares of media outlets around the world, the report says, with one recent example being the purchase of Mexican Spanish-language radio station XEWW 690 by H&H Group, an investment firm with ties to Beijing-controlled Phoenix Television, in July 2018.

Winston Xia, president of California-based Chinese-language radio station Sound of Oriental and West Heritage, warned at the time that Beijing would be able to encroach on freedom of speech on U.S. airwaves through XEWW, given that XEWW broadcasts into much of southern California.

More Action Needed

Alviani said governments and journalists need to increase their scrutiny of the Chinese regime’s interference in foreign free press, and do more investigations into this area.

“The most important [thing] … is that democracies realize the danger, and realize the extent of the Chinese penetration in their media,” he said.

“So far, most democracies have been somehow naive and not paying enough attention.”

Failure to do so could lead to dire results, Alviani warned.

“The danger is much wider than Chinese propaganda. It is a new world media order … a model that could become the dominant model in 20 or 30 years, and that would make journalism as we know it something of the past.”


Taiwan seeks help finding, deporting celebrity blogger

VANCOUVER — Officials in Taipei are asking Ottawa to help find and deport from Canada a celebrity blogger accused of fleeing Taiwan with millions in stolen funds from a high-end cosmetic surgery clinic.

Su Chen Tuan, better known as Lady Nai Nai, built a following in Taiwan for her beauty and lifestyle tips.

She is alleged to have been part of defrauding clients and investors of more than $42 million, declaring her business bankrupt, getting on a plane to the U.S. and ending up somewhere in Eastern Canada, starting first on Prince Edward Island. The accusations have not been proven in court.

The story has captured the interest of some Taiwanese-Canadians in B.C. who have been talking about the case online among themselves.

Their Facebook page was recently discovered by reporters in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese-Canadians see themselves as part of a bigger effort to share information and, maybe, expose the whereabouts of Su, her husband Huang Po Chien and father-in-law Huang Li Hsiung.

All are named as being wanted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice.

“We cannot actually do anything, of course, but I was just thinking we could help put some pressure on the situation by spreading the details and making it harder for them to hide,” said Sophie Lin, a Richmond resident.

She keeps up with current events in Taiwan even though she has lived in B.C. for more than 20 years, and said she and “most Taiwanese feel some shame.”

Alleged victims in Taiwan claim they were duped out of millions of dollars when a cosmetic surgery clinic in Taipei run by Su and her husband abruptly closed.

Some said they paid in advance for various services and others were highly leveraged investors in the business.

Canada does not have diplomatic ties or an extradition treaty with Taiwan. Canada officially recognizes mainland China, which does not consider Taiwan a sovereign nation, but rather as a part of its territory. This means countries that diplomatically recognize mainland China and Beijing cannot have official government relations with Taiwan.

Despite this, it is still possible for agreements to be made on a case-by-case basis, according to lawyers.

Alice Wang, senior assistant director of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver, which serves as a de facto representative group, said Canada and Taiwan have a close relationship, with each actively promoting tourism and economic trade.

“We respect the procedures within Canada and we hope Canada can help deport these three people,” said Wang.

Experts urge action against age discrimination at work

Experts are calling for protection against age discrimination in the workplace ahead of the Ministry of Labor’s introduction of a draft act for the employment of middle-aged and elderly workers, which is to be released before the end of this month.

The nation’s working-age population — those aged 15 to 64 — began to decrease in 2016, the National Development Council’s population estimate report said.

As the overall population ages, the labor force would also age and affect the labor supply, the report said, recommending expanding labor sources by making better use of elderly workers.

The draft act is to focus on five main areas: prohibiting age discrimination, helping employees secure stable employment, helping unemployed workers find jobs, helping retired people re-enter the workforce and creating job opportunities, Workforce Development Agency Director-General Huang Chiu-kuei (黃秋桂) said on Sunday.

When people with similar experience and levels of education apply for the same job, 42.2 percent of companies are unwilling to hire a middle-aged or elderly worker, yes123 spokesperson Yang Tsung-pin (楊宗斌) said, citing a survey the company conducted on members of its online job board who are older than 45.

When filling “regular staff” positions, 75 percent of companies said they would consider age, he said.

Even though companies are not allowed to set limits on age or gender when hiring, “invisible” discrimination still exists, he added.

While government efforts to address gender discrimination have yielded considerable results, the government has yet to propose any policies or regulations on age discrimination, National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of National Development associate professor Hsin Ping-lung (辛炳隆) said.

As the population ages, more jobseekers will be middle-aged or elderly, and by then, companies will have no choice, he said.

Before then, the government could push for policies that encourage companies to hire more older applicants, he said.

This does not mean that the government has to create policies with the mindset that older workers are disadvantaged and offer different types of incentives, he said, adding that instead, it should solve the problem of age discrimination through promotional campaigns.

Digitalization is a common trend in the development of different industries, Yang said, adding that older workers who want to continue working should develop their social media skills and read about online trends to maintain their competitiveness.

The ministry has provided flexible job opportunities, personalized career consultation, training and other services through more than 300 public employment service centers, a ministry official said.

Taiwan seeks visa reciprocity from Manila

Taiwan will continue talks with the Philippines on granting visa-free status to Taiwanese nationals, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) said yesterday, a day after the government announced plans to give Filipinos visa-free privileges.

Speaking on the sidelines of a legislative hearing, Lee said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hoped that Taiwan and the Philippines would develop a reciprocal arrangement on the visa issue.

The lack of reciprocity from the Philippines after Taiwan announced its policy sparked concerns of an unequal relationship between Taipei and Manila.

The Cabinet on Thursday said that Premier William Lai (賴清德) had approved a plan on a trial basis to allow Filipino citizens to enter Taiwan for 14 days without a visa, as part of government efforts to promote its New Southbound Policy.

Although the government has not said when the new program will begin and Lee would not comment on the issue, sources said it could start next month at the earliest.

Asked whether Taiwan was confident it could secure reciprocal treatment from the Philippines, Lee said it would depend on how future talks proceed.

In response to Taiwan’s announcement, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei on Thursday said that the Philippines is looking to provide a reciprocal loosening of travel regulations for Taiwanese visitors.

To promote its New Southbound Policy, the government first relaxed visa rules last year for ASEAN member states and India.

Taiwan also included the Philippines in its electronic visa program on Oct. 7 last year.

In related news, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) yesterday said that Taipei and Manila are expected to renew a bilateral investment agreement signed 20 years ago by the end of the year.

Yang, who was attending a trade fair in the Philippines, said he received positive feedback from Philippine authorities on the possible renewal of the agreement at a bilateral industry conference on Thursday.

There was also progress made on a bilateral free-trade agreement, Yang said.

The New Southbound Policy, launched in May last year, is aimed at enhancing the nation’s relations with countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The government hopes that the policy will forge closer ties with these countries in a bid to reduce Taiwan’s economic dependence on China.

Govt to unveil low-cost flat plan soon: sources

Sources say the government will next week announce a pilot scheme to let charities run more than 300 low-cost flats to be rented out to needy families.

The idea was first floated in July by the Transport and Housing Secretary, Frank Chan, who said that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) could operate government-approved subdivided flats.

But the sources told RTHK that instead of dividing the flats into small units, residents taking part in the scheme will live in the same flat and share the living room and bathroom.

It’s understood that the government hopes that more property owners will rent out their flats to be used in this way.

KMRT light rail to start charging

The Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT) system’s light rail line is to begin charging fares in November, the KMRT Bureau said yesterday.

Travel on the light rail line, the first of its kind in Taiwan, has been free since it opened in October 2015, but with the extension of the line this year a sharp increase in the number of passengers, a fare schedule will be established, bureau Director Wu Yi-long (吳義隆) said.

The line, which opened with four stops, was extended in June to the popular Pier-2 Art Center in Kaohsiung Port and has 14 stations.

Trams run from Lizihnei Station (C1) to Dayi Pier-2 Station (C12), with the section to Hamasen Station (C14) to open on Sept. 30.

Although fares are to be introduced in November, they will be half-price for the first two months, he said.

The 8.7km waterfront rail is part of the Kaohsiung Circular Line that was designed to complete the city’s metro service network.

There are about 13,000 passengers per day on work days and nearly 20,000 on weekends and holidays, Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp said.

In related news, the city is to open an electric car rental station on Oct. 1 as part the its electric car-sharing system, the city’s Transportation Bureau said.

The station is to be at the No. 2 exit of the KMRT’s Sizihwan Station (西子灣), the bureau said, adding that five electric cars will be available for free during the month.

The city government in May signed a contract with the electric car rental company Unicar, it said.

Over the next two years, 50 electric car rental stations are to open, offering a total of 84 vehicles at a tentative rate of NT$150 per 30 minutes, it said.

The first 10 stations are to be set up by May next year near the high-speed rail system’s Zuoying Station (左營), railway stations, MRT stations, department stores and hospitals in the city.