‘China first’ ceremony raises flap


VANCOUVER — A coalition of Chinese immigrants is calling on Coun. Kerry Jang to resign after a controversial flag-raising ceremony last week.

During the ceremony, held outside City Hall Sept. 30 to mark China’s National Day on Oct. 1, Jang hoisted a Chinese flag up a large flagpole.

He, along with Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido, also spoke at the event while wearing a red scarf. The celebration angered many Vancouverites who say red scarves symbolize loyalty to Chinese communism, and were worn by the fanatical Red Guards during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. They sent an open letter to councillors and Peschisolido seeking assurances that such an event doesn’t happen again.

“We demand our government officials, members of legislative assembly and parliament put our Canadian values first when they deal with Sino-Canadian affairs,” read the letter, signed by Louis Huang, a spokesman for a group called the Alliance of the Guard of Canadian Values.

The group demonstrated outside Vancouver City Hall on Thursday.

Jang said he filled in at the event on behalf of Deputy Mayor Heather Deal, who was unable to attend.

Peschisolido said in an interview that he regretted having worn the red scarf.

He said he had been handed the item and told that it was “a symbol of 5,000 years of Chinese culture and civilization.”

“I looked around and everyone else was wearing it, so I said OK.”

Peschisolido said he later learned what the scarf represents to many Chinese-Canadians.

But the Liberal MP said he did not regret being there that day.

“If I had to do it again, I still would have gone,” he said.

“I got the opportunity to speak, where I talked about the importance of economic ties between Canada and the People’s Republic of China. … But I also spoke about the importance of human rights, the importance of democracy, the importance of freedom of the press and freedom of one’s faith.”

© Copyright Times Colonist

Source link