Groups respond to allegations of operating as Chinese police stations in Quebec
Two Montreal-area community groups are speaking out about being investigated for allegedly operating as covert police stations for the Chinese government.
Last Thursday, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed that it was investigating the Service de la famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal in Montreal's Chinatown and the Centre Sino-Québec de la Rive-Sud, in the municipality of Brossard on the South Shore.
Both centres have served as resource centres for Chinese and Asian communities for decades.
In a statement last week, a spokesperson for the RCMP said investigators are taking steps to "detect and disrupt these criminal activities supported by a foreign state that could also threaten the safety of people living in Canada."
On Monday, the two groups issued a statement of their own, reminding people about the importance of the presumption of innocence. The statement also urges the media to be careful about generalizations, "particularly following the context of the pandemic where the Chinese community was heavily stigmatized."
"To assume these organizations are guilty in the current factual vacuum could cause irreparable damages to these two organizations," reads the groups' statement, issued through Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats, a law firm based in Montreal.
The groups also say they want their fundamental rights to be respected and would like to collaborate with the RCMP's investigation.
In their statement, they denounce all forms of harassment and intimidation.
The groups also reiterate their trust in Xixi Li, who serves as the executive director for both organizations. She is also a councillor with the city of Brossard.
In November, the RCMP also launched an investigation into similar reports of Chinese "police service stations" in the Toronto area.The police force did not respond to a request from CBC News last week about the latest in that investigation.