Chinese diplomat takes aim at the blame game in Metro Vancouver real estate

December 13, 2016

By Chuck Chiang, Vancouver Sun |

The top Chinese diplomat in Vancouver says condemnation of Chinese investment in B.C. real estate is fuelling a backlash against immigrants from China.

Liu Fei has not avoided controversy, unlike Chinese consuls general before her.

And on Tuesday, she waded into the debate with a plan to counter the negative publicity.

Liu says her office will launch a series of campaigns and media events next year to promote Chinese and Chinese-Canadian contributions to B.C.

She hopes the campaign will defuse tension that has built over the past few years.

Liu said she believes even those with the strongest animosities can be convinced.

“We have to tell people about the realities of the Canada-China relationship,” Liu said. “Our interactions in economics, trade, education and culture benefit many people on both sides, and I believe those people who object will change their views if they see that.”

Racists flyers were delivered in two incidents in Richmond last month, including one portraying a Caucasian family looking at a Chinese-owned mansion with the caption: “Immigration has turned into the plunder of Canada.” Some Richmond residents held counter-rallies.

Globally, Beijing has been increasingly vocal about the well-being of overseas Chinese communities, with embassies and consulates taking more visible roles among local Chinese-speaking people regardless of their citizenship.

An Economist report noted after an anti-Chinese protest in Kuala Lumpur last fall that China’s ambassador to Malaysia said the Beijing “will not sit by idly” if its citizens’ rights are violated. Yet the vast majority of ethnically Chinese people in Malaysia are Malaysian citizens whose ancestors arrived more than a century ago.

Former Vancouver councillor Tung Chan, who has been active in the Chinese-Canadian community since 1974, said Chinese governments in the past century have always regarded overseas Chinese as their own.

So, while he has not seen a Chinese diplomatic mission this active in Vancouver before, Chan said it is not surprising.

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