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Conservatives amid Chinese Diaspora 

Jonathan Fon


Counted a week following an aborded conservative event of Pierrie Poilievre greeting and meeting Chinese community, which was cancelled with email announcement over night by August 25, on Friday night of September 1, 2023, the Chinese Canadian Conservative Association, CCCA, held a gala in celebration of its 40th anniversary at a banquet hall in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  It claimed 600 seats sold at $138.00 each.

The current leadership of CCCA once held a press conference in 2021 demanding Mr. Erin O’Toole, the former CPC leader to resign his position.  Afterward, the CCCA claimed its role in initials of the oust of Mr. Erin O’Toole.  The CCCA criticized his party policy, saying that delivered the message of  “hatred of Chinese”, which resulted in loss of two seats in BC and not a seat gained in GTA.

The Chinese Canadian Conservative Association (CCCA) once held a press conference on October 7, 2021 in Toronto demanding O’Toole’s resignation.

“Mr. O’Toole, your hatred message on China is dangerous as that would easily to be  translated into ‘anti-Chinese’ message,” reads a news release in English handed out at the press conference, which was mainly attended by Chinese community press.

An email announcing the event delivered by Mr. Eric Wen, national executive secretary focused on O’Toole’s stance on China. “We, as CCCA, address the issue about the unfairness treatment of China and cost our 2 seats of MP of Chinese origin in BC and not even one elected in GTA 55 ridings,” Wen said in that email.

During the press conference, Mr. John Zhu, current CCCA chairperson read a Chinese-versioned statement.  John Zhu stated, “Your [O’Toole’s] hard line and reversal of policy on dialogue has put us in a very difficult position in promoting China in the Chinese community.”

Established in the early 1980s, the CCCA has a long history in the Chinese community. Zhu took the helm of the organization in 2018.

Once when he was interviewed by a newspaper, Zhu defended the CCCA’s decision to hold a public event to call for O’Toole’s resignation.

“If we want O’Toole to step down, we need … to have our voice heard in the public,” he said.

He said O’Toole should promote policies “that is not hatred of Asian people” and should have approached the Chinese community and associations during the election and shown “his kindness to our Chinese community.”

“We urged that O’Toole, before or beginning or during the election, he should come down to our Chinese community to promote his policies, and then he should not assume something that is all really bad to China, saying that we should not do business with China, we should not accept Chinese business,” he continued.

Zhu rejected the suggestion that his organization’s message is in line with CCP propaganda.

“It’s not that, not really,” he said.

Zhu is an accountant in profession and major player of Longbond International Investment Corporation, which is involved in immigration and investment. 

An undated photo on a Chinese website shows Zhu walking alongside former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Michael Chan in China. According to The Globe and Mail, Chan was the subject of a warning by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) over fears he was under the influence of Beijing. Chan has sued the Globe and Mail for its reporting.

Zhu explains that he thinks the photo is from 2010 or 2011 and that he was accompanying Chan on a visit to China as a friend.

Zhu was also present at a ceremony to celebrate John McCallum’s assignment as Canada’s ambassador to China in 2017, with a seat on the stage. John McCallum is a veteran Liberal politician. The event was attended by the Chinese consul general in Toronto and was publicized on the website of the consulate.

McCallum, known for his frequent trips to China when he was a Liberal MP, was removed from his post as ambassador in 2019 after speaking publicly in favour of the release of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, whose extradition case was before the courts at the time.

The Chinese Canadian Conservative Association, CCCA celebrated its 40th anniversary.  Still, there are two of its much younger siblings in Chinese community.   People in Chinese community ironically called them triplets.  The other two triplets are: the Canadian Federation of Conservative Organizations, CFCO and the Federation of Chinese Canadian Conservatives, FCCC.

The Canadian Federation of Conservative Organizations, CFCO was established on January 20, 2012.  Mr. Harry Tsai, a federal campaign candidate of Scarborough and Agincourt for the Conservative Party of Canada in 2011 is the founding president.  CFCO used to hold series of conservative value workshop routinely to promote multiple cultural awareness and Canadian essence.  Conservative MPs around GTA were invited to present various topics attracting newcomers.  During the historic remembrance of the 200 anniversary of the war between America and Canada, CFCO held a pictural show to disclose a history in the growth of nation-making.  However, no more activities so far are seen under the name of CFCO.

The Federation of Chinese Canadian Conservatives, FCCC was established on November 9, 2018.  Ted Jiancheng Zhou, a former Liberal supporter, who seems to have taken on a different political path by promoting conservative causes in the Chinese community, became the founding chairperson. Zhou is a Toronto wealthy condo developer but he set up a network across federal ridings to advocate for Conservative ideas and values. But such an operation is alleged to skirt election laws.  

The Globe and Mail once reported that Zhou’s network includes ten organizations in BC to Alberta to Ontario as well as a national organization called the Federation of Chinese Canadian Conservatives , FCCC.  The organization held a rally and dinner on November  9, 2018.

Zhou’s organizations and the alleged campaign efforts have raised eyebrows of Election Canada and sparked concerns from oppositions. The Liberal and NDP parties both sent letters to Federal Elections Commission, seeking a probe into whether the wealthy developer and his non-profit groups have colluded with the Conservatives to win support from the Chinese community, according to the Globe and Mail.

However, Zhou is no stranger to the political fundraising arena. According to the Globe and Mail, he has donated $1500 in 2016 to the Conservative’s rival Liberals and were among the selected few who attended the infamous cash-for-access fundraiser in 2016 featuring PM Trudeau. More importantly, Zhou seems to have strong ties with Chinese authorities and has allegedly got involved in China’s “soft power operations” aiming at influencing the overseas Chinese diaspora. 

Similarly, those triplets all claimed that their organization each is a nationwide body representing Chinese conservatives in Canada.