Richard T. Lee served as a Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly from 2001 to 2017. He recently revealed that, four years ago, the Chinese authorities detained him for eight hours at the Shanghai airport. He and his wife had gone there for a vacation. Chinese officials confiscated and searched his business phone, cancelled his visa, and forced him to fly back from China immediately.
Mr. Lee and his wife had gone to Shanghai at the end of 2015 to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. After they arrived in Shanghai, Chinese authorities separated them. Mr. Lee was kept in a room. Two Chinese officials took away his personal phone and his business phone. They demanded his password, which he eventually gave them. The Chinese officials looked at his emails, including the emails that were in his BC Legislative Assembly account.
Those officials didn’t make a specific charge against him, but they claimed that his actions had “endangered China’s state security.” Mr. Lee asked to talk to the Canadian Consulate in Shanghai and Canada’s Ambassador in China, but his request was denied.
Finally, the Chinese officials returned his phones and asked that he and his wife leave China immediately.
Mr. Lee said that he had openly supported Taiwan independence and democracy in Hong Kong. He believed that was what angered Beijing. “I attended the candle light event in front of China’s Vancouver Consulate on June Fourth every year (the day of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre). Many times the Chinese consulate staff warned me not to go there. China’s then Consul General Liu Fei at Vancouver asked me not to attend the event in 2017.”
Mr. Lee was serving as the Deputy Speaker of the BC Legislative Assembly when the incident occurred. He said that he didn’t publicize this case then as he did not want to damage the Canadian-China relationship.
Source: Radio France International, November 30, 2019