On the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party's founding, over 500 Torontonians gathered at Grange Park not to celebrate, but to condemn the authoritarian regime and to call on the Canadian government to take action against it.
The event, called 100 Years of Oppression, was organized by the Tibetan RTYC of Toronto, along with other groups representing the Hong Kong, East Turkistan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and other communities.
Gloria Fung of Canada-Hong Kong Link highlighted the threat the CCP poses to global democracy through "infiltration, manipulation, intimidation, as well as hostage diplomacy," referencing the ongoing detention of Canada's two Michaels.
"Today, we stand in solidarity," Fung said, "to show our support to the oppressed people in China as well as around the world. And we're also here to urge our Canadian government to show leadership on the world stage by taking a strong stance towards the CCP, sanctioning Chinese and Hong Kong officials, as well as boycotting the 2022 Beijing winter Olympic games."
There was heavy acknowledgement of Canada's indigenous community. A protester named Moon from student group Ryerson University Stands With Hong Kong, which seeks to raise awareness about the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and the CCP’s oppression, drew a parallel between residential schools, and China's persecution of the Uyghur Muslims whose children are forcibly taken away from their families and put in special Chinese schools.
"It is impossible for us to ignore the similarities of these systematic schools, and the ethnic genocide being committed against minority groups all throughout China as we speak," Moon said at the event. "Canada Day, similar to the CCP anniversary, is not a day for celebration. Rather it is a day for mourning, for activism, and for a call for all of us to do better."
Elterish from the East Turkistan Association of Canada said: "While the CCP celebrates the creation of their brutal regime, it is important that we stand together and not forget the millions of Uyghus, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Vietnamese, Southern Mongolian, as well as democracy-seeking Chinese people that have been beaten, tortured, jailed, and killed by the CCP's reign of terror."
"As you may know," he continued, "the CCP's genocide of Uyghurs in East Turkistan has left us with over 3 million in concentration camps, tortured, beaten, and killed." He then highlighted the importance of people joining together and making their voices heard by the world.
The group marched to the Chinese Consulate, calling to free the various countries the CCP has occupied, and to boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Many passersby honked or called out in support of the demonstration.
Sheng Xue from The Federation for a Democratic China, a Canada-based political group that advocates for the democratization of China through opposition of the Communist Party, opened her speech by saying how happy she was to see people from so many communities joined together.
Xue urged the Canadian government "not to regard the CCP's tyranny as a friend" but instead "recognize the CCP tyranny as a terrorist regime."
Xue continued in the impassioned speech: "A lot of us live in fear in Canada, which is not right! So we are calling for our government to stand up strongly against the Chinese government, to protect us."