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Montreal Chinese community fears being excluded and stigmatized by federal inquiry


Multiple Montreal Chinese organizations wrote an open letter to Canada's foreign election interference inquiry asking to respect the democratic rights of Chinese Canadians and oppose modern-day exclusion.

The letter says that the demands in 2023 for a public inquiry into Chinese interference and influence and a foreign agent registry are connected to past Chinese immigration acts in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act.

"Despite the innocuous title of the Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference, Canadians see the inquest spotlight aimed at the Chinese Canadian community," the letter reads. "Some in our community are concerned that the positioning of the government and all the political parties as attacks on our democratic rights to participate in the electoral process and to vote for whomever we wish without raising suspicions of being influenced by a foreign power."

The letter was signed by 49 academics, community activists, associations and organisations.

"Once again, we have a fear of being excluded and deprived of our democratic rights," the letter reads. "Under this cloud of suspicion over the Chinese diaspora, our community institutions are being targeted for alleged Chinese 'police stations.'"

Two Montreal Chinese community organizations served the RCMP with a $5 million defamation suit early in March after the police forced alleged so-called police stations were operating in the area.

The Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal was one of the organizations involved in the suit and has operated in Quebec for a half-century.

The organizations said in the letter that it has been "stigmatized, investigated and excluded from receiving government funding," and "is in danger of being closed due the lack of funds."

The federal inquiry hearings are investigating alleged interference by China, India, Russia and other countries in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, members of his cabinet and other key bureaucrats and officials are set to testify.

The letter from Montreal's Chinese community says Chinese Canadians continue to face unfair scrutiny when voting, running for office or exercising free political expression and participation.

"Chinese Canadians have the right to be proud of their history in this country, and their contributions to Canada, with a safe and unambiguous sense of belonging," it reads. "They should also have

the ability to acknowledge the present-day accomplishments of their ancestral homeland without provoking the trope of 'foreign interference.'" Top Stories

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