Richmond MP denies involvement of pro-China supporter in campaign

Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido has denied that a woman, who was at the forefront of the pro-China rally in Vancouver on Aug. 17, has been involved in his re-election campaign for the upcoming federal election.  

According to a story posted on the website, Eileen Chen is the “events assistant in the Chinese community for Peschisolido’s campaign.” TheBreaker also posted a photo on its site of Chen at Peschisolido’s campaign office opening on Sept. 15. 

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On Aug. 17, Chen attended the pro-China rally when competing rallies between pro-Hong Kong and pro-China demonstrators took over the entrance next to the Broadway-City Hall Canada Line station in Vancouver. She was seen waving a Chinese flag and singing the People’s Republic of China’s national anthem. 

However, in an email sent to the Richmond News, Peschisolido’s communications director states, “Chen does not have a role in his (Peschisolido’s) re-election campaign.”

Kevin Li adds, “The campaign office opening, which occurred on Sept. 15, was a public event because it was posted on the official Joe Peschisolido Facebook Campaign Page. Eileen Chen was merely one of many visitors of the day and has no role in the campaign.”

When reached for comment three days after theBreaker story appeared, Chen stated that she had been an “events volunteer for Peschisolido,” but is not any longer. She didn’t specify when her situation changed.

Chen is the chief executive of CYC Royal International Culture Co., an event planning and advertising company which has offices in several cities in China, including Shanghai, Hangzhou and Dalian. The company’s services include project management, cultural exchanges and trade shows, according to its website. 

This isn’t the first time Peschisolido has faced criticism regarding his connection to pro-China supporters. Three years ago, he was shown wearing a red scarf -- a symbol of the Communist party of China -- at the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Later, he said he regretted wearing a Communist red scarf during a community event. 

This comes amidst concerns about foreign influences on the federal election -- in particular governments working with diaspora communities to support candidates who are seen to be sympathetic to that country’s interests.

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