Saturday, December 19, 2020

Nasty campaign against Canadian Hong Kong-style restaurant is baffling

Here's a good example of the political fragility and thin-skinnedness that seems to have taken hold in recent years. 

A "Hong Kong-style" restaurant in Richmond Hill has been receiving hate mail and graffiti vandalization over a sign on their door asking people to wear a mask to "prevent an unidentified virus pneumonia in Wuhan". The owner of the restaurant is a Canadian resident originally from Hong Kong, and the abusive online posts and graffiti are almost exclusively from Canadians originally from mainland China, people who are apparently objecting about being discriminated against by the notice in some way, and against some inferred support for Hong Kong independence. 

There has been a rash of spurious negative reviews of the restaurant online, in an attempt to destroy its reputation and economic durability. Yelp has had to temporarily disable posts to the restaurant's listing. In what appears to be a concerted and organized campaign, many fake orders have also been called in, playing havoc with the restaurant's ability to survive in these trying times. Police are investigating the graffiti daubed on the restaurant as a hate crime.

Now, granted, the notice is a bit strange, or at least badly-worded (wearing a mask in a Canadian restaurant is not going to prevent anything in Wuhan). But it is hardly offensive, not even as offensive as Donald Trump calling COVID "the China virus". It seems like the very use of the word "Wuhan" has been taken by some people as a veiled attack on the Chinese Communist Party and, by extension, the Chinese people and Chinese policy in Hong Kong. That's a bit of a stretch, really.

And anyway, when did support for democracy in Hong Kong, or even criticism of of China's national politics, expressed in an independent and democratic third country, constitute grounds for hate crimes? This seems like a bizarre overreaction, and entirely unwelcome and insupportable in Canada. 

If these people are so supportive of China's oppressive and autocratic regime, why did they even leave and settle in a country with policies and values entirely antithetical to such views. It has left me scratching my head and inwardly seething.

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