Montreal groups allegedly host CCP ‘police stations’ received annual funding from the Chinese government, said Chinese-language report
“(The Centres)…. received a total funding of $1.5 million from the Canadian government and the OCAO of the State Council of P.R. China each year.”
Two organizations in the greater Montreal area allegedly host China’s unofficial police stations have received annual funding from the Chinese government, according to a Chinese-language report in 2017.
The Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal (满城华人服务中心) and Centre Sino-Québec de la Rive-Sud (南岸华人服务中心), are said to have been received $1.5 million in total each year from the Canadian government and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO), according to an article published on the WeChat channel “Montreal_Southshore (蒙特利尔南岸快讯)” on Sept. 28, 2017.
The article headlined “[Xixi Li - The pride of Chinese] Brossard 2017 Municipal Election - District 8 Candidates Introduction” said,
In 2016, in order to meet the needs of the growing number of new immigrants, under her efforts, Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal and Centre Sino-Québec de la Rive-Sud (“the Centres”) were awarded the designation of ‘Overseas Chinese Service Centre (OCSC, 华助中心)’ by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO, 国侨办) of the State Council of P.R. China, and became one of the three major OCSCs in Canada, along with the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. in Vancouver and the Cross-Cultural Community Services Association (TCCSA) in Toronto.
This is a full endorsement from the Chinese government that the Centers have always been serving and contributing to the Chinese community, maintaining & promoting the well-being of overseas Chinese since its establishment. After the efforts of her (Xixi Li) and her predecessors, the Centres have developed into a service centre with 20+ employees, 3,000+ volunteers, and received a total funding of $1.5 million from the Canadian government and the OCAO each year.
The WeChat article didn’t elaborate on the breakdown of funding, and didn’t provide the amount of funding from the OCAO is unclear. Found in Translation was unable to confirm the figures.
The OCAO is an organization under the Chinese government tasked with influencing the overseas Chinese community. Before 2018, it was an administrative office under the State Council of the P. R. China. In 2018, it was merged into the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But in many formal or informal cases, the term OCAO is still used as an external name of the UFWD.
Ever since 2014, the OCAO has set up dozens of Overseas Chinese Service Centres (OCSC, 华助中心)’ around the world.
The OCSCs claim themselves to be non-profit organizations serving the diaspora Chinese community, but there are allegations that they are involved in monitoring, surveillance and intimidation of dissidents, effectively operating as unofficial "police stations" for China.
The two OCSCs in the Montreal area were hosted by the Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal and Centre Sino-Québec de la Rive-Sud, two organizations supervised by Xixi Li (李西西), a Brossard City Council.
When the OCAO designated these two organizations as OCSCs in 2016, a ceremony was held in the office of the Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal. Xixi Li, OCAO director Yuanping Qiu (裘援平) and Chinese Montreal Consul-General Peng Jingtao (彭惊涛) were all in attendance.
In March 2023, it was reported that the RCMP had launched an investigation into the two organizations. Shortly after that, several Canadian government agencies cut their funding to them.
Xixi Li and other leaders at the two organizations have denied all allegations about hosting CCP police stations.
The two organizations have faced severe financial challenges in recent months following the withdrawal of funding by the Canadian government, according to their WeChat channel. But there’s no update on the status of the OCAO funding.
On Nov. 7, 2023, the two organizations held a fundraising event, aiming to raise 1.7 million Canadian dollars to buy out the building they are located in.
Found in Translation reached out to Ms. Xixi Li via email for comment and verification, but has not received a response. The WeChat channel “Montreal_Southshore” could not be reached for comment.