Saturday, February 20, 2021

Michael Chong's biased motion: It's about Genocide of Indigenous Peoples, not "Religious Minorities in China"

I have written about UNDRIP and Uyghurs and China vs Hong Kong, Canada vs Haudenosaunee Confederacy., and how I consider the narrow focus on China to be misplaced whether we are talking about Hong Kong or the Uyghurs.

Michael Chong recently tabled a motion which he called "Religious Minorities in China" that I want to write about.  I first want to document some of the biases that caused me to initially form the opposite opinion to Michael Chong.

Michael Chong's biases

I have been following Michael Chong's political interventions since I met him in the context of his Conservative Party leadership campaign. I really liked what I heard so I re-joined the Conservative party (sorta - I had been a member of the Progressive Conservative party) and voted for him as #1 on my ballot.

I have noticed a growing focus on China in his interventions in the house, growing to the point where he seems to talk about China more than he talks about Canada.

While there are other sources, a little bit from his biography from Wikipedia helps to understand the bias.

  • His father was born in British occupied Hong Kong, and immigrated to the British created Dominion of Canada in 1952.
  • He attended Trinity College, a college founded by a Bishop, which kept a strong Anglican alignment after UofT severed its ties with the Church of England. He later served on the board of the Corporation of Trinity College.
  • He was a founding member of The Dominion Institute


This hints at explaining his bias towards the British Empire, and the British occupation of Hong Kong (which finally ended in 1997) as well as the ongoing occupation of Turtle Island.

The Dominion Institute merged with the Historica Foundation of Canada to become Historica Canada.  As part of my Countering Stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples course we have been assigned to review some of Historica Canada's Heritage Minutes (see my comments), to recognize the pro-European anti-Indigenous biases embedded in them.

These Heritage Minutes regularly get the history wrong, and are misleading at best.

For the European genocide during the second world war, the symbol that most represented it was the swastika. Prior to the Nazi misappropriation of this symbol it was primarily used in India by Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

For the Turtle Island genocide, which has been ongoing for hundreds of years, the symbol that most represents it is the Christian cross.  The Roman Empire promoted Christianity within the empire, and later the Bishop of Rome (also known as the Pope) created the Doctrine of Discovery though papal bull which authorized and encouraged subjects of Christian Monarchs to travel and steal lands and resources, and to subjugate (enslave, kidnap, convert, eradicate, etc) populations which were not already subjects of Christian Monarchs.

Canada, through institutions like the Dominion Institute and many more, has been promoting a specific biased version of Canada's history which seeks to continue to promote the genocidal values of Christian European empire building.

The three largest Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have been at war with each other since each splinter group was formed from the others. After the second world war, Christianity started to work together with Judaism given it was complicity by Christians that allowed that genocide to be carried out as easily as it was.

In recent decades, following the religion focused fallout of September 11, 2001,  Christianity and Judaism has been offering similar with supporting Islam in specifically narrow circumstances.

It should not be surprising from all of this that Michael Chong's motion will be anti-China and pro-Islam/Abrahamic, and ignore any other aspects of this genocide.


My biases

I don't see Capitalism and Communism as all that different since they are based on the same world views, and differ only on who should gain the spoils from excessive exploitation of non-humans (land, animals, etc). I have been more concerned with socialism and communism as I worried that they might accelerate environmental decline as a matter of "equity". I have had that feeling for a long time, but was only able to articulate it recently.

The fact that China is currently Communist is not of great concern to me.  I also ignore (reject, oppose, etc) racist beliefs which suggest that non-Europeans are somehow automatically inferior to Europeans.

I am very concerned about religious empire building, with the largest empires being built by Abrahamic religions (primarily Christianity and Islam).

Due to this bias I incorrectly saw this as Abrahamic empire building against regions that were part of China, with Abrahamic empire building also being part of British colonialism against China.


Religion is a distraction in this case

I discuss in "Is religious freedom camouflaging ongoing colonialism and empire building", religion is regularly a distraction from understanding what is actually happening in a region.

I wrote earlier:

The Uyghurs are an indigenous peoples that have a history in that region dating back thousands of years. They call the region East Turkestan (or Uyghurstan), and reject the name Xinjiang (Sinkiang, meaning "New Frontier" in Mandarin Chinese). Many converted to Islam in the 10'th century, but that doesn't take away from their status as Indigenous peoples, and should not misdirect the focus of discussion toward religion.

Fixing the biases in Michael Chong's motion

Michael Chong motion, as tabled on February 18, 2021, reads as follows:



(a) in the opinion of the House, the People's Republic of China has engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the "Genocide Convention", including detention camps and measures intended to prevent births as it pertains to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims; and

(b) given that (i) where possible, it has been the policy of the Government of Canada to act in concert with its allies when it comes to the recognition of a genocide, (ii) there is a bipartisan consensus in the United States where it has been the position of two consecutive administrations that Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are being subjected to a genocide by the Government of the People's Republic of China, the House, therefore, recognize that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims and call on the government to officially adopt this position.

This motion contains Michael Chong's personal biases against China, and for the British Empire and Abrahamic religions.

  • Narrow focus on China
  • Narrow focus on Canada's historical allies (other CANZUS members, plus parent of Britain), with special prominence given to the United States
  • Narrow focus on Muslims

If I were to amend the motion to remove those biases, one possibility becomes:



(a) in the opinion of the House, several member states of the United Nations are engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the "Genocide Convention"; and

(b) given that where possible, it has been the policy of the Government of Canada to act in concert with the United Nations when it comes to the recognition of a genocide, the House, therefore, recognize that a genocide is currently being carried out by several member states against Indigenous peoples in regions these states claim as their jurisdiction, and call on the government to officially adopt this position.

This more generalized motion would focus on the actual problem, which is genocide against Indigenous peoples, and not try to carve out one specific country that is carrying out genocide, or specific methods used in genocide.

It is important to avoid any straw man fallacy by thinking that removing the focus on China means that anyone is excusing China, but recognizing that China is not remotely alone in what it is doing and that the focus must be on genocide.

Canada can't work with only with allies on this anti-genocide policy, as those closest allies have been engaged in genocide of Indigenous peoples for far longer than the very recent focus on China. Genocide can't be allowed to be normalized by having one group of nations committing genocide against Indigenous peoples to point fingers at another nation committing genocide against Indigenous peoples.


Without this amendment it is clear that Michael Chong, and fellow Conservative caucus members supporting it, as well as Bloc caucus members, are not interested in stopping genocide.  They are only interested in embarrassing China, but in the process they may end up further normalizing genocide against Indigenous peoples.

It is important to recognize that efficiency has never been part of the UN definition of genocide, so genocide does not have to be an "event" that starts and stops in a short time.  Recognizing that efficiency is not part of the definition, it is obvious that CANZUS (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United States) are guilty (with long established documented evidence) of genocide against Indigenous peoples.  CANZUS states are clearly guilty, while China is at this point is merely accused of genocide against the Indigenous peoples of Uyghurstan.

We must become committed to stopping genocide, and that must include the UN member states that have been carrying out a "cold genocide" for longer than they have been members of the United Nations.


The Olympics

Mr. Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe (Lac-Saint-Jean, BQ) asked to add an amendment:


“call upon the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympic Games if the Chinese government continues this genocide.”


The Olympics has had an interesting history with host countries committing genocide. The first televised Olympics was hosted in 1936 by Nazi Germany, with Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler offering an extravagant spectacle televised globally.

The Third Reich alluded to the Nazis' belief that Nazi Germany was the successor to the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and German Empire (1871–1918).


Nazi Germany must be recognized in that larger historical context of colonialism and empire building. We must abandon claims that this was some sort of one-off part of Europe's distant problematic history, as well as cease any narrow focus on a single individual who was a charismatic leader of a political party.

What happened with Nazi Germany was empire building, which inevitably leads to genocide. This has quite clearly been the case with other European empires, including the British Empire.

A more generic version of this amendment would be:

"call upon the International Olympic Committee to never again host the Olympic Games in a nation that is currently engaged in genocide."


This would ensure that China, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and United States, could not host the Olympics until they ceased their genocide. We should be willing to use any tool we have to stop genocide, and embarrassing countries by disallowing them to host the Olympics is yet another tool in the International toolbox.

1 comment:

Russell McOrmond said...

Something I wrote in social media.

Imagine the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd claiming to be in solidarity with BLMTO simply because they are protesting what Toronto police are doing and not Minneapolis police!

The Canadian government has no place in calling out China for something it is doing itself. If Canadians wish to stop genocide, including within what China claims are its borders, then they need to focus on stopping Canada being an inspiration for genocide. This is what Canada is: a country who has been engaged in a "slower" genocide that slips under the radar, and has been inspiration for south African apartheid and more.

In the case of the US and Canada (Two of the 4 countries that voted against UNDRIP) this is clearly not about wanting to protect human rights, but wanting to embarrass China as part of their attempt to launch a new cold war with China.

When Michael Chong is not talking about the Uyghurs (which he has never correctly called an Indigenous peoples, only a "religious minority" which is a deliberate distraction), he is talking about how he is upset that the British occupation of Hong Kong is over, or the nonsense claims about Huawei being a security threat (If it is, it is because of the back-doors the government wants to put in to eavesdrop on Canadian communications -- the brand of the equipment uses should never matter).

It's all China, all the time...

He is a British Empire loyalist, which does not make him in solidarity with Canadians as we aren't merely subjects of the British Empire/commonwealth.