Hong Kong—Political Situation
Hon. Jim Munson: Yesterday, Mr. Leader, I was asking you questions about the situation in Hong Kong. I’d like to continue that questioning. It’s not getting any better in Hong Kong. On the National Day I think there were 100,000 people on the streets, and now the protesters threaten to storm some government buildings on Thursday.
Mr. Leader, some Western countries, including the U.K., the U.S., Australia and Italy, have issued travel advisories for Hong Kong in light of the current situation. Has Canada or will Canada do the same?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senator, as I said yesterday, we are concerned about the increasing tensions in Hong Kong. Canada supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong. We reaffirm our support for universal suffrage in the 2017 election of the Chief Executive and the 2020 election of legislative council members.
As I said yesterday, our people are in direct contact with our government representatives in Hong Kong and local representatives to make sure we understand what is going on and what is at stake and to keep us apprised of the latest developments.
Senator Munson: Thank you, but the question is: Has Canada issued a travel advisory for Canadians not to go to Hong Kong or will it do so?
Senator Carignan: Senator Munson, I can check. To my knowledge, the answer is no, but I don’t know whether that could have been done in the past few hours. To my knowledge, the answer is no.
Senator Munson: Honourable senators, I know through experience that China censors the media, social media and even its citizens. In Hong Kong these days, as we were told by Martin Lee, a pro-democracy activist who was once a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, that self-censorship and all kinds of things have been going on for the past couple of years. Newspapers and television stations in Hong Kong are simply not telling all the stories that happen in China.
They’ve now set their sights on foreign diplomats. In a letter sent to consular officials, the Chinese government advised:
To ensure the safety of all consular personnel and foreign nationals living in Hong Kong, we hope all Consulates-General in Hong Kong will strictly abide by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and relevant local laws and regulations of Hong Kong, restrain the behaviors of its consular staffs, and advise its nationals living in Hong Kong to stay away from the sites of assembly and “Occupy Central”, so as to avoid violating the law and affecting their own safety and interests.
Have Canadian officials received this communique?
Senator Carignan: I can contact the office to see if it was received and get back to you about it.