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Chinese-Canadian human rights advocate received death threats after supporting Uyghurs

Group press provincial government and RCMP to investigate foreign influence.
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Concern Group of Chinese Canadians on CCP Human Rights Violation sent two letters to Horgan’s office to ask the premier to remove Bill Yee, a retired judge and former Vancouver city councillor, from a provincial advisory committee after Yee told a Chinese-language radio host that Canada’s accusations of Uyghur genocide in China are “lies.”

A member of a Chinese-Canadian human rights advocacy group said they received death threats after issuing an open letter to Premier John Horgan asking him to remove an adviser from B.C.'s Chinese-Canadian Community Advisory Committee.

The Concern Group of Chinese Canadians on CCP Human Rights Violation sent two letters to Horgan’s office to ask the premier to remove Bill Yee, a retired judge and former Vancouver city councillor, from a provincial advisory committee after Yee told a Chinese-language radio host that Canada’s accusations of Uyghur genocide in China are “lies.” 

On April 11, a group member received a series of text messages and phone calls from an unknown caller with one text that reads “Wanna kill you. I am going to kill you,” according to group spokesperson Thekla Lit.

“I must say, in Canada we should allow no place for any death threats, especially against those politically motivated people advocating for human rights and social justice. Current policies are totally inadequate to protect citizen activists from threats,” Lit added. 

During an interview with a Toronto radio station, Yee said the Canadian parliament’s vote to pass a motion declaring the treatment of Uyghur people in China a genocide was not based on facts and was done for ulterior motives. 

According to a statement from B.C.’s Minister of State for Trade’s office, Yee will not be seeking reappointment to the advisory committee. 

Lit noted that the RCMP is now involved in identifying the suspect, and group members have also reached out to Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety, and Solicitor General and  Attorney General David Eby to ensure the provincial government thoroughly investigates the incident and presses appropriate charges. 

However, Lit refused to reveal which RCMP detachment the victim reached out to as that could reveal their residency. 

Lit added, her group’s concern is not just with the one individual’s safety but also the possibility the threat is “part of a larger foreign operation to suppress voices critical of a foreign regime on Canadian soil.” 

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said in this case, the line was crossed with ‘uttering threats,’ which is usually defined as a criminal code offence. 

“As soon as there is an attempt, on Canadian soil, to put Canadians in harm’s way, we must react, and react swiftly with determination,” added Kurland. 

B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety said in a statement that police in the province operate independently and the government does not direct police operational decisions or investigations. 

“We have confidence in the police and their ability to assess these types of complaints and take the appropriate course of action. And we will continue to support the positions of Global Affairs Canada who lead bi-lateral relations with China,” read the statement.