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TV Network Calls on Canada to Expel High-Ranking Chinese Official Over Interference
Jason Loftus, The Epoch Times
A Canadian Chinese-language television broadcaster asked the Canadian government today to expel the deputy head of the Chinese embassy over interference in its business operations.
New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) Canada president Joe Wang addressed a news conference this morning on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. In addition to asking the government to expel Mr. Huikang Huang for "blatantly interfering in Canadian policy," he called on Canada to "immediately stop the Chinese Embassy from attacking our Canadian business operations."
A leaked embassy document obtained by The Epoch Times earlier this month showed that Huang tried to block the licensing of New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) in Canada. (Please read Chinese Embassy Tried to Silence TV Network in Canada, Leaked Document Shows )
NTDTV applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in February 2005 seeking approval to broadcast in Canada. The document showed that about a month later, on March 18, Huang wrote, "It is still possible for us to knock down NTDTV's attempt to enter the cable television network. We should reinforce the strength of our work. The [embassy's] culture section and the political section need to study the plans for the next phase."
Founded in 2002 by overseas Chinese in the United States, NTDTV is a non-profit global network known for its candid reporting on human rights abuses in China and for its criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.
Wang asserted at the press conference that NTDTV, as an independent media, is "not going to stop reporting on Taiwanese issues, the Falun Gong movement, the Dalai Lama or any other issues deemed sensitive to the communist regime." Otherwise it amounts to "self-censorship."
The document was smuggled out of the embassy last month by Zhang Jiyan, wife of a diplomat who has since been recalled to China. A practitioner of Falun Gong, Zhang defected from China in March and is applying for political asylum in Canada. She fears being tortured and imprisoned if she were to return to China under the communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong.
Zhang also exposed that the Chinese embassy has a "secret office" established to "interfere with and attack organizations in Canada that do not following the communist government party line," Wang said.
The CRTC application "is not a single case," Wang noted. He spoke about a pattern of "systematic attack" by the Chinese embassy and consulates in Canada on NTDTV's business since 2003, including barring its reporters from community events.
The station's staff believe the Toronto Chinese consulate is behind multiple incidents of vandalism and tire slashing at the NTDTV Toronto office. On several occasions station executives have also received letters containing a suspicious white substance, leading to quarantine of the office.
In January 2005 the embassy revoked visas earlier granted to two NTDTV reporters to join then-Prime Minister Paul Martin on his trip to China. "The Prime Minister did speak out," Wang said, raising the issues of freedom of speech and human rights when talking with China.
Moreover, Wang noted that since the network began holding its annual Chinese New Year Spectacular in 2004, Chinese officials have continued attempts to interfere with the production, including sending letters denouncing the station to Canadian government officials, performers, and sponsors, urging them not to support the show.
In January this year the embassy went so far as issuing a statement noting its disapproval of "the participation in the 'New year Spectacular' by the officials of any country in any form." Huang also appeared on CTV News calling the show "political propaganda" and urging Canadians not to attend, Wang said.
NTDTV is calling on Canada to expel Huang as persona non grata. If the Canadian government agrees, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations China is obligated to "either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission." If China does not carry out this obligation, Canada may refuse to recognize Huang as a member of the mission.
In an interview with the CBC, Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who has served in Beijing, said it "crosses a line" and violates diplomatic principle if an embassy attempts to sway another country's regulatory decision-making process.
NTDTV also requested that Canada reprimand Chinese Ambassador Lu Shumin for his involvement. The leaked document with Huang's writings includes a signature of approval from Lu.
In the letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay dated April 12, Wang called Huang "a threat to the foundation of Canadian integrity."
In China all media is controlled by the communist regime, Wang said at the press conference, and the attacks against NTDTV are an attempt to extend that media control to Canada.
The Canadian government "cannot allow a foreign dictatorship to be calling shots in Canada," said Wang.
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