EDITORIAL: Michael Chong's badge of honour

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Conservative MP Michael Chong should keep doing what he’s doing.

On Saturday, the Tory’s foreign affairs critic was sanctioned by name by China’s communist dictators for condemning their horrific treatment of their minority Muslim population as a genocide.

The sanctions ban Chong, who has also criticized China for its imprisonment of Canada’s two Michaels and its suppression of democracy in Hong Kong, from entering China, Hong Kong and Macao.

It also bars Chinese citizens and institutions from communicating with him.

Chong, who was born in Canada but has familial ties to Hong Kong and China tweeted in response:

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“We’ve got a duty to call out China for its crackdown in #HongKong & its genocide of #Uyghurs. We who live freely in democracies under the rule of law must speak for the voiceless. If that means China sanctions me, I’ll wear it as a badge of honour.”

As he should.

China also sanctioned members of Canada’s parliamentary sub-committee on international human rights, which last year produced a scathing report accusing China of genocide, although it did not name any individuals, which include Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs.

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Saying it was responding to Canada and the U.S. sanctioning senior Chinese communist party members for human rights violations last week, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson warned the Canadian MPs to, “stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues (where China’s internment camps are located), stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form and refrain from going further down the wrong path. Otherwise, they will get their fingers burnt.”

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Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau responded: “China’s sanctions against Canadian parliamentarians and democratic institutions are unacceptable and an attack on transparency and freedom of expression.

“The Government … stands with parliamentarians and all Canadians as we continue to work with partners in defence of democracy and freedom of speech and will continue to take action when international human rights obligations are violated. We need to stand together to remind those who violate human and democratic rights that the world is watching.”

Given that, we urge the Trudeau government to acknowledge what MPs from all parties have already declared in Parliament — absent the prime minister and his cabinet — by condemning China’s treatment of its Muslim minorities as a genocide.

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