MP Michael Chong considers being sanctioned by Chinese government a 'badge of honour'

·2 min read

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong has been named among those sanctioned by the People’s Republic of China.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced sanctions on Saturday against Canadians and US individuals and entities including Chong, the Conservative’s foreign affairs critic, and the House of Commons subcommittee on international human rights.

"The individuals concerned are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the relevant individuals and having exchanges with the relevant entity," the ministry said in a statement.

A statement from Chinese officials said this is in response to sanctions imposed by the US and Canada on individuals and entities in the Xinjiang region over human rights violations of Uyghur Muslims.

In February, the House of Commons passed a motion declaring the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghurs met the definition of a genocide.

Trudeau’s cabinet and other Liberal MPs abstained from voting on this matter.

In a phone call on Monday, Chong said he is taking this as a badge of honour as it demonstrates they are being effective in calling out China.

“(Chinese authorities) are very worried about a growing number of elected officials, both here and abroad that are working to draw attention to the genocide that’s going on against the Uyghur Muslim minority and the violations of human rights that are going on in Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong,” Chong said.

Chong has been outspoken on this issue, previously telling GuelphToday Trudeau’s cabinet abstaining from voting showed a lack of leadership.

Chong said his vocalness in highlighting human rights violations is likely why he was specifically named by China while others weren’t.

“They gave a pass to Liberal cabinet ministers and the Liberal government because they abstained from voting on the recognition of a Uyghur genocide,” Chong said.

He said he doesn’t believe the sanctions against him will be effective and in fact helps raise more awareness around “China’s belligerent behaviour.” He said he has no plans to travel or do business with China and is focused solely on representing constituents in Canada.

He noted the difference between the reasons for sanctions between western governments and China.

“Western governments recently put sanctions on four Chinese officials for their role in persecuting some 12 million Uyghur Muslins in western China,” Chong said.

“China has placed sanctions on me and others for simply speaking out and speaking up and I think that highlights the fundamental difference between western democracies and the authoritarian regime of China."

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com