In order to meet President Xi Jinping at a government meeting this week, the leader of a British Columbia-based organization that describes itself as a “non-political” organization assisting Chinese integration into Canadian society traveled to Beijing. Niu Hua, the president of the Canadian Community Service Association, is shown in films and images published by the Chinese state media attending the “10th Conference for Friendship of Overseas Chinese Associations,” which was organized by the state council’s office for overseas Chinese affairs. Niu can be seen in a group photo with Xi as well as cheering with the crowd on Monday when he arrived at the meeting, which according to official media, was attended by delegates from 130 different nations.
Chinese official media reports that conference participants act as “an important bridge and bond” between China and the rest of the globe, according to Shi Taifeng, director of the central committee of the Chinese United Front Work Department.
Shi referred to the organizations as “fresh troops” in China’s initiative to create a “shared future for mankind” as a part of the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Niu has not replied to demands for comment, but his WeChat social media account in Chinese posted images of the meeting published by official media as well as pictures of him in front of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square, where he met with Xi.
According to the Canadian Community Service Association’s website, the organization was founded in 2002 to encourage ethnic groups, including Chinese communities, to integrate and to uphold “the spirit of community service” by planning events including fundraising campaigns for natural catastrophes.
It claims to be “non-profit, non-religious, and non-political,” and it has close to 20,000 members.
The organization held a dinner in March to welcome General Yang Shu, the new Chinese consul, to Vancouver. Several Canadian federal, provincial, and local officials spoke at the gala’s spring festival in January, and Niu posed for pictures with a number of them.
Senator Yuen Pau Woo, one of the speakers at the January event, questioned if any worries about Niu’s attendance at the meeting with Xi had a racial undertone.
Did you know that during President Biden’s recent visit to Canada, a large number of leaders of non-political groups met with him? Woo responded in writing.
Would you raise the same concern if President Xi visited Beijing and met with a Caucasian Canadian leader of a non-political organization, such as the president of a commercial organization or a university? The Chinese ambassador Zhao Wei, who resides in Toronto, was designated “persona non grata” by Canada on Monday after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said he was a part of a scheme to harass Conservative MP Michael Chong and his family in Hong Kong.
In response, China branded Canadian consul Jennifer Lynn Lalonde “persona non grata” and ordered her to leave the country by May 13.