Sam Cooper’s article on Global News that investigates Chinese government stockpiling coronavirus safety supplies has sparked heated controversy within the Chinese community. A petition letter seeking signatures on Change.Org cast Cooper’s piece in a racist light, accusing it of provoking and exacerbating racist prejudices against Chinese and other Asians. It further alleges that the article attacks all Chinese Canadians and their heroic donation efforts, misconstruing their love and humanity towards their homeland as disloyalty to their adopted country of Canada. However, these allegations are not facts.
The Global News investigation reveals Beijing’s covert operation to massive stockpile PPE for China. It shed light on collective efforts by a United Front network that involved Chinese consulates in multiple Canadian cities and overseas community associations. The article focused on the CCP willful effort to secure PPE while mentioning that some overseas Chinese associations in Toronto made responding efforts by helping purchase and transport PPE to China. The story put the Chinese government and its overseas arms in its crosshair but did not lay a finger on the majority of Chinese Canadians and their volunteered donation efforts.
Criticizing government and political party is a standard practice in Western journalism. Sophisticated readers would not erroneously conflate the criticisms of the CCP with that of the Chinese people. Understanding the difference is vital in avoiding misinterpreting professional journalism into racism attacks.
Political tensions between Ottawa and a foreign regime would not lead to the backlash towards the immigrants in multicultural Canada, which strives to provide all racial minorities equally regardless of the status of their home country. Ottawa’s handling of flight 752 victims and Canadians’ widespread support to the Iranian community has proven the point. While Ottawa has never stopped condemning Tehran for human rights violations, it strived to advocate for the rights for the Iranian Canadian victims and offered their families with the best care and support possible. The Canadian public treated crash victims with Iranian background as members of their own, providing them with outpouring love and humanity.
In Jan 2019, as the tension between Ottawa and Beijing escalated over the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Globe and Mail planned a courageous move to protect Chinese citizens from the threat of their government--another example that Canadian society draws a line between the regime and its people. It considered turning down any request from Ontario prosecutors to hand in the information that may compromise the safety of witnesses from China, who faced risks of retributions by the Chinese authorities.
Mr. Cooper’s followed-up article made the point clear that the majority of Chinese Canadians were not the accomplices in Beijing’s state efforts, but rather, silent suffers as widespread of the United Front efforts reach Canada. The article urged Ottawa to take more decisive actions to support Chinese Canadians who face pressure from Beijing and call for mainstream media to provide them with more vocal support. Exposing United Front networks and protecting Chinese Canadians from pressure by the regime is what exactly Cooper’s articles intended to achieve. The petition letter distorts facts and tries to inflame racism fear-mongering by slapping a racist label on it.
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