Group Marches to Chinese Military Anthem During Parliament Hill Protest

Group Marches to Chinese Military Anthem During Parliament Hill Protest
The Canadian flag flies atop the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 5, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Andrew Chen
Updated:
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A group of demonstrators marched to the Chinese military anthem on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 24 during a protest that was advertised as marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act, which restricted virtually all Chinese immigration to Canada.

However, the organizers have used the act and its anniversary to promote opposition to the creation of a foreign agent registry in Canada, with one calling proposed legislation “Exclusion 2.0,” a reference to the 1923 act which is also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

According to a video posted on WeChat, the demonstrators, who appear to be senior citizens, wore red jackets and paraded in military style on Wellington Street during the protest.

The protesters moved in sync with music from a loudspeaker playing the “March of the People’s Liberation Army,” the military anthem of the Chinese army. A female voice in the clip can be heard saying in Chinese, “Golden Years, Ottawa Parliament Hill parade. Start!”

The Chinese characters “Golden Years” was visible on the back of the participants jackets as they performed a dance in front of the Parliament Buildings prior to the parade, according to a video taken by Chinese Headline New Media.

The Epoch Times previously reported that organizers of the protest had called for support of a petition against establishing a foreign influence registry in Canada.

Subsequently, the organizers issued a notice instructing the participants to say that they wouldn’t support or sign the petition if asked, The Epoch Times learned. The participants were also “strictly prohibited” from raising Chinese flags, singing the Chinese national anthem, or chanting “red slogans” throughout the event.

Petition

Although the protest was held in the name of marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act, the website advertised on the event’s poster calls for support of a House of Commons citizen petition, e-4395, that opposes proposed legislation to establish a foreign agent registry.

The petition was launched in April by B.C. resident Wang Li and sponsored by Ottawa-area Liberal MP Chandra Arya. Sen. Yuen Pau Woo confirmed to The Epoch Times in May that he had helped draft the petition.

The link to the website, chinesecanadians2023.com, is included in a poster that has been circulating on online media outlets and social media platforms widely used by the Chinese community. A section dedicated to the “624” (June 24) event on the website includes posts asking people to sign the petition.

Sen. Woo and Sen. Victor Oh, who joined the protest, have been attending a series of public events in recent months to voice strong opposition against the foreign agent registry while supporting the petition. At one of the events, held on May 28 in Montreal, the city’s Chinese consul general, Dai Yuming, was invited as keynote speaker.

Sen.Yuen Pau Woo denounces RCMP allegations of Chinese government interference in Canada as s community organizer looks on during a news conference at the Chinese Family Service Centre in Montreal, on May 5, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)
Sen.Yuen Pau Woo denounces RCMP allegations of Chinese government interference in Canada as s community organizer looks on during a news conference at the Chinese Family Service Centre in Montreal, on May 5, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)
Woo came out strongly against a foreign agent registry in an open letter to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino dated April 18. The minister had announced the launch of public consultations on the creation of a registry a month earlier, following a string of reports on the Chinese regime’s interference in Canada, which included meddling in the past two federal elections and operating at least seven secret police stations on Canadian soil.

Racism Accusations

During the June 24 protest, a woman was seen promoting the petition while speaking to people on Parliament Hill. She said the true intention of the protest was about opposing the proposed legislation on creating a foreign agent registry.

“This protest is about [preventing] the legislation from being successfully passed,” she said in Chinese. “So actually, why have so many people come here today? Behind [the protest], we are opposing this legislation. But we don’t want to explicitly say that [the protest] is targeting this, so we are taking up the issue [of the Chinese Immigration Act] from a 100 years ago.”

Another woman who attended the protest made similar remarks during an interview with the YouTube channel Canadian Free Living. She said she had been invited to a “very private event” in Ottawa a day earlier, to commemorate the 100 years of the Chinese Immigration Act.

“And today, 24 hours later, we are here to show support against the same totalitarianism that is going to occur with the foreign registry,” she said.

Participants in the June 24, 2023, protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (The Epoch Times)
Participants in the June 24, 2023, protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (The Epoch Times)
The woman declined to respond when asked if the Canadian government should have any legitimate interest in countering foreign influence operations by the Chinese Communist Party. Instead, she said the question should be answered by an expert and that she was at the event to recognize the 100 years of “legislative racism against our Chinese ancestors.”

Foreign Agent Registry Legislation

In a March 10 Twitter post, Woo criticized two pieces of legislation aimed at creating a foreign influence registry in Canada. The first, Bill C-282, introduced in April 2021 by former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu, died on the order paper when the federal election was called that year.

The second, Bill S-237, introduced in February 2022 by Sen. Leo Housakos, is currently in second reading in the Senate but has not received support from the government. Over the past few months, Woo has written a number of Twitter posts criticizing the bill and the proposal to establish a foreign registry.

Neither bill mentions any specific country or ethnicity to be targeted. Chiu told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that this is because a foreign influence registry is meant to comprehensively address interference attempts by all malign foreign actors. In addition, the legislation he proposed only required those working in Canada on behalf of a foreign entity to register with the government, to increase transparency around work.

Conservative Sen. Victor Oh in a file photo. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)
Conservative Sen. Victor Oh in a file photo. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)

Protesters Offered Money, Bus Ride

Sen. Oh, however, is promoting the idea that a foreign agent registry is a “disguised Chinese Exclusion Act” that, once passed into law, will be detrimental to all Chinese organizations and future generations of Chinese people in Canada.

Oh made this claim while speaking to a crowd of Chinese-Canadians in Montreal on June 12. He said he planned to rent 50 buses to transport some 3,000 residents from the Toronto area to join the upcoming demonstration in Ottawa.

On June 24, 28 buses travelled from Toronto to Ottawa. Participants were offered a free ride and a $15 lunch subsidy, though the organizers instructed them to say that they didn’t receive any money to participate in the event, The Epoch Times learned. Another eight buses, arranged with donations from various individuals and private organizations, transported protesters from Montreal to Parliament Hill, according to a report by Sept Days.

One of the buses taking protest participants to Ottawa, preparing to depart from the Richmond Hill, Ont., area on the morning of June 24, 2023. (The Epoch Times)
One of the buses taking protest participants to Ottawa, preparing to depart from the Richmond Hill, Ont., area on the morning of June 24, 2023. (The Epoch Times)
One of the buses taking protest participants to Ottawa, preparing to depart from the North York area of Toronto on the morning of June 24, 2023. (The Epoch Times)
One of the buses taking protest participants to Ottawa, preparing to depart from the North York area of Toronto on the morning of June 24, 2023. (The Epoch Times)
Buses arrive with protest participants in Ottawa on June 24, 2023. (The Epoch Times)
Buses arrive with protest participants in Ottawa on June 24, 2023. (The Epoch Times)

In response to an Epoch Times request for comment regarding the May 28 event in Montreal attended by the Chinese consul general, Sen. Woo said he was “pleased” to support the organizers and looked forward to attending other similar events.

Sen. Oh has not responded to multiple requests for comment from The Epoch Times.