The Games will take place in the midst of a pandemic, in a country where human rights are heavily criticized and where athletes and their teams fear for computer security. But the Chinese community in Quebec, what do you think of the games in Beijing? We posed the question to three Chinese Quebecers.
Posted yesterday at 9:00 am.
Bai Shan left China in 2014 to study in Quebec and today she still admits that she weighs her words when criticizing the communist government in China.
“It is not a democratic government, but people still feel that their quality of life is improving thanks to it,” says Bai Shan, a journalist with The Montrenese, an online media that deals with social and cultural issues in China and Quebec.
“But it’s true that we don’t have the same freedoms as here, and we can’t discuss all topics freely,” she says.
According to Pei Shan, privacy protection is a concept that is just beginning to be discussed in China. She says her educated citizens lack education about what should (or shouldn’t) be posted online.
The young woman understands the concerns of the sports delegations preparing to set foot in China. “In China, everyone uses WeChat to chat. If you write something bad about the government, you may get arrested. Yes, yes, you get arrested,” she insists.
“Web security agents will send you a message, or the local police will visit you to tell you that you wrote something inappropriate,” she asserts. Bai Shan, who visits China once a year, explains that the concept of policing remains a different one for Westerners and Chinese. A neighbor or friend can provide web monitoring services in China, for example.
24 hour monitoring
Montreal chef Minh Phat, born in Quebec to parents of Chinese descent, has only been to China once, in the city of Shanghai. He was distinguished by his visit. “China is really Big Brother. I saw cameras everywhere. I felt like I was being watched around the clock,” says restaurateur Mui Mui, which means ‘little sister’ in Cantonese.
“Everything is controlled. Information on TV, radio, internet, what’s blocked and what can be accessed,” explains the person who used a VPN for a more open internet during their trip.
If Minh Phat grew up in China with his family, he swears he would be part of the protest movement that opposed Chinese intervention in Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020.
Hong Kong enjoys more autonomy than the rest of the country.
“What happened in Hong Kong was the uprising of young people and young people. Old people do not understand and wonder why young people are taking to the streets. They are good at communism. They do not have the same issues as young people who dream of freedom to vote and choose,” laments Minh Phat. The latter rarely talks about Chinese politics with his parents who immigrated to Quebec, otherwise their discussions flare up.
Should the organization of the Winter Games have been given to another country? The only other candidate city was Almaty, Kazakhstan, a country currently rocked by violent protests and a political crisis.
China had the right to present its candidacy, Minh Phat replied hesitantly, “But perhaps she should not have been chosen. But if we open that door, there are a lot of other countries that should not have, and not just China.”
However, Minh Phat, regardless of the political context of the host country, is pleased with the athletes who will have the opportunity to meet and perform in front of the cameras around the world. “The Games are a great event! These athletes dedicate their lives to skiing, skateboarding or some other sport. I am happy that the Games can be held for them.”
And what about the epidemic?
Su Wang, who was born in Quebec to immigrant parents, does not believe that China organizes the Games in order to improve its image with Western countries.
For the Chinese, it is with great pride that they can hold such a big event. I remember in 2008, there were logos everywhere and a lot of merchandise in game colors. Residents are proud to organize the games,” explains the person who has uncles and aunts who live in the Beijing and Shanghai regions.
Will it help improve relations with certain countries? “I don’t think it’s used for that,” she adds.
Su Wang believes one thing is certain, visitors who enter the Olympic bubble will be safe despite the global pandemic. I think if there is a country that has proven to be able to control the epidemic, it is China. »
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