Two community organizations in Montreal’s Chinese Canadian community are threatening to sue the Canadian federal police agency if they don’t receive an apology for allegations that their premises hosted secret overseas “police stations” for the Chinese government.
Known by their French names, the two services, the Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal and the Centre Sino-Québec de la Rive-Sud recently sent a letter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police demanding an apology and announced they’re seeking damages of $2.5 million CAD, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Back in March, the RCP said they were investigating reports that agents of the PRC’s Ministry of State Security were operating out of the two groups’ premises and were harassing members of Montreal’s Chinese Canadian Community, pressuring some to return to China.
Denying the accusations, the two groups say the RCMP did almost nothing to investigate after the community centers first came under suspicion, other than interviewing staff.
Since then, they’ve lost government funding, which they say forced them to cut back programs including French language education and support for victims of domestic violence in the community.
“This situation has left the community in dire need, and many dedicated workers have lost their jobs,” the groups said in a statement to Global News Canada.
The Service à la Famille Chinoise du grande Montréal also alleges it could lose its building because its banks has threatened not to renew it mortgage.
Maryse Lapointe, the groups’ lawyer, said the allegations are false and defamatory, deeply impacting the organizations’ operations. “We are asking compensation for that, we are asking for a retraction and public excuses,” she said, quoted by the CBC.
Two Canadian senators – Independent Sen. Yuen Pau Woo and Conservative Sen. Victor Oh – joined the groups at Friday’s news conference, reported CTV News.
The RCMP declined to comment on the potential lawsuit but said that their investigation into illegal police stations “more broadly” continues, already having “disrupted illegal activity.”
“It is important to note that some of the activity the RCMP is investigating is occurring at locations where other legitimate services to the Chinese Canadian Community are being offered,” a spokesperson for the RCMP said to CTV.
Besides Canada, the governments of Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States have accused the PRC of operating clandestine police bases in their territory, sometimes called “110 Overseas,” referring to the mainland Chinese counterpart to 911.
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