The Chinatown Round Table reminds the public of the following fundamental human rights of each Canadian and Québecker of Chinese origin :
1. freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, freedom of communication and association;
2. the right to be presumed innocent, to be informed about specific charges, and to know the evidence against the person charged with an offence.
We question why the RCMP, out of thousands of investigations they conduct across the country, would publicly name two community centres serving the Chinese communities in Québec, one of which is nearly 50 years old, causing serious and potentially irreparable harm to the community.
We are alarmed that since the RCMP publicly confirmed that they are investigating the Chinese Family Services of Greater Montreal and Centre Sino Québec, for being ‘Chinese police stations’ there has been devastating effects on the community.
Evidence of a chilling effect has already been seen in the reluctance of people of Chinese origin to speak publicly, as numerous community spokespeople have refused to give any interviews since last week.
The survival of long-standing community organizations that have a record of decades of exemplary service to the Chinese-speaking community in Montreal and the South Shore, integrating new immigrants, organizing activities to fight against the isolation of seniors, providing support and referrals for victims of conjugal violence, offering French language classes and alleviating poverty, is now at risk, impacting our community’s livelihood and quality of life.
Although we encourage victims of any type of bullying or intimidation to come forward, we caution against imputing blame to any specific individual or organizations without evidence or specific allegations.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act. As Senator Yuen Pau Woo has warned, a contemporary version of Chinese Exclusion is emerging, whereby Chinese Canadians are stigmatized because of their backgrounds, denied the presumption of innocence, penalized for seeking services from culturally and linguistically accessible institutions, and ostracized from public service and political participation.
We demand the respect of our rights and civil liberties protected under the Canadian and Québec Charters and we encourage all members of our community to speak up and defend these rights.
Montreal, March 14, 2023
Coordinator of Montreal’s Chinatown Round Table