Direct ties between Vancouver’s Chinese associations and the Chinese regime likely play a role in the continuous rejection of the Falun Gong’s efforts to participate in the Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade, says Qikun Liu.
Liu, a Vancouver-based China commentator, says these organizations act as vehicles for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to conduct United Front work outside China by infiltrating local communities.
The United Front Work Department uses overseas Chinese to infiltrate foreign politics and establish community associations, business groups, and media that promote the interests of the Party around the world.
The organizations plant or transform political and community leaders who act as agents of influence for the regime.
Liu says a common CCP strategy is to use human weaknesses for fame, position, and money in order to control influential Chinese leaders overseas.
“It is no secret that the Party has been applying these skills now and then to lure people,” he says.
The Vancouver Falun Gong community alleges that each year since 2003, their group’s application to participate in the Chinese New Year parade has been rejected.
Mike Jang, president of the Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA), a co-organizer of the parade, has claimed there was no room for new applicants in the parade, and denies any discrimination against the group.
— Qikun Liu
But according to Ming Bao newspaper, the number of parade entries has been increasing every year, up from about 40 groups in 2008 to over 50 in 2010. Jang himself told Ming Bao that there were 68 groups in the 2011 parade.
Jang also claims that the City of Vancouver, not the CBA, stipulates the time and space the parade can occupy, thereby limiting the number of participants.
Jang did not respond to requests for comment, but told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that the Falun Gong were not accepted because of the city’s restrictions.
“If they give us more time we can have [more participants], but the city gives us very little time,” he said. Jang also denied any knowledge of a parade application from the Falun Gong, though the group has been applying for the past eight years.
Josie Ho, a representative with the Vancouver special events office, told The Epoch Times that the city only sets restrictions on where the road blocks are set up for the parade, not on the number of entries permitted.
In 2009, after the Falun Gong’s application was yet again rejected, city police gave the group permission to march one block behind main parade. But their contingent was blocked by several men who formed a human barrier to keep them from marching ahead.
Liu says Jang is playing a key role in perpetuating discrimination against the Falun Gong overseas by consenting to Party directives though his close relationship with the regime. He believes Jang belongs to those the CCP has seduced through exclusive invitations to events from high ranking members of the Party.
Jang is the perfect target for Beijing. Aside from his role at the CBA, he holds honorary positions at several Chinese official institutions with links to the Party. He is also chair of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver and the Shon Yee Benevolent Association—organizations that are also on the preparatory committee for the Chinese New Year parade.
“On the issue of Falun Gong’s application for the Chinatown parade, Jang is aware how he should serve,” says Liu.
The regime launched a campaign of persecution against Falun Gong practitioners after it banned the spiritual discipline in 1999. Wearing traditional Chinese clothing, with a drum contingent and a marching band, the Vancouver group has participated in many parades and won several awards.
Michel Juneau-Katsuya, the former CSIS chief for Asia Pacific, has said there are at least two dozen front organizations controlled by the Chinese regime operating in Canada. He said ethnic communities often feel the brunt of foreign influence exercised in Canada, especially dissidents who are subject to coercion, threats, and intimidation by the regime.
Chen Yonglin, the former first secretary for the Chinese consulate in Sydney who defected from the Party in 2005, says Canada is beset with Chinese spies, informants, and front organizations that do the bidding of the Chinese regime on Canadian soil.