Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says it’s time for democratic countries to wake up to China’s threat to the world, and is calling for free countries to unite against the Beijing regime.
“It’s time for freedom-loving nations around the world to wake up to this reality, to work together to support each other in pushing back,” Scheer told The Epoch Times.
“So it’s time for a wake-up call with G7 countries, with democratic countries around the world, to say this is a country that is abusing human rights.”
The recent national security law imposed on Hong Kong is the latest in a “pattern of very aggressive behaviour” by the Chinese regime, and this pattern can only be countered by a strong global response, Scheer said.
“The best strategy would be to form an alliance of countries who have had enough, who are willing to call out the regime for what it is so we can support each other,” he said.
“If we don’t, it will only get harder. Every day we wait, every year, it will only get harder and harder, so we might as well start now. We might as well start creating that kind of alliance of freedom-loving nations around the world to stand up to the authoritarian regime of the PRC (People’s Republic of China).”
On May 28, Beijing passed a national security law that would grant its security apparatus the ability to operate in Hong Kong, effectively ending the “one country two systems” structure in principle.
The move sparked widespread criticism as the law could be used to target people and groups suspected of sedition or other ‘threats’ to safety and security, and follows recent arrests of many leading pro-democracy activists in the former British colony.
Last week via conference call, Scheer met with Hong Kong human rights and democracy activists from Canada and around the world to explore how Canada can better support freedom for Hong Kong.
“We don’t want to see the people of Hong Kong suffer unduly anymore,” he said.
“Our caucus is looking at different steps that we can take … at the diplomatic level; we believe these actions [by the regime] should be condemned. It’s appropriate to start looking at things like if there are [Chinese] agents operating in Canada under the cover of diplomatic protection. We need to end that, we need to stop allowing that to happen. Those are the steps that we should be taking in the short term.”
Scheer criticized the Liberal government for its “strategy of appeasement” with China. He pointed to the regime’s retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for extradition to the United States—through detainment of Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig and the blocking of Canadian agricultural exports—as an example that this approach has failed.
“Mr. Trudeau goes to great lengths not to offend his Chinese counterparts. And we believe it’s time for Canada to stand up, not just for ourselves but for the rights of the people in China and in Hong Kong,” he said.
“We’ve seen with authoritarian human rights-abusing governments in the 20th century, and even more recently, that if you just ‘go along to get along’ you allow these types of abusive regimes to get more and more powerful until it becomes harder and harder to stop them.”
A Growing International Resistance
On June 1, a cross-party international coalition of 760 parliamentarians and policymakers from 37 countries, including 180 Canadian signatories, issued a statement decrying Beijing’s ‘unilateral introduction of national security legislation in Hong Kong’ and calling for sympathetic governments to unite against this “flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”
Last week, Canada also joined a coalition of democratic nations including Australia, the United States, and the U.K. to condemn Beijing for enacting the new security law.
But beyond words of criticism, several countries have started taking concrete action to curb Beijing’s threat, against the backdrop of Hong Kong freedom and ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 29, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a series of new measures tackling threats posed by the communist regime: the revocation of Hong Kong’s special status with the United States, sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials, formal withdrawal from the World Health Organization, the barring of Chinese graduate students tied to the Chinese military, and a review into Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges.
The British government said it will grant greater visa rights to British national overseas (BNO) passport holders from Hong Kong unless the Chinese regime suspends the new security law. This would allow BNO passport holders in Hong Kong to stay in Britain for 12 months instead of the current six.
And European Union foreign ministers agreed to toughen their strategy on China in a meeting on May 29, to counter Beijing’s increasing aggressiveness. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a news conference after the meeting that ministers expressed “grave concern” over China’s plans to curtail freedoms in Hong Kong, and the bloc would now prepare a new EU strategy document on China.
Scheer said Canada should not underestimate its bargaining power, and should join other countries to gain momentum against the regime.
“If enough countries around the world work together on this level—we’ve seen it before. We’ve been able to, as a world, create alliances of countries who are committed to human rights,” he said.
“We’ve been able to do things like [stop] apartheid in South Africa. We’ve been able to stop ethnic cleansing in different regions. We’ve done it before; where there’s a will. I just believe that governments … need to stop fooling themselves. They need to start to open their eyes and see the reality that’s actually happening on the ground.”
With reporting by Danielle Zhu