IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Author)
The following is a copy of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sun Yuxi's speech at a 7 September 1999 news briefing in Beijing:
The Canadian Embassy in China and the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conferred a few days ago on the matter of repatriating illegal migrants. Canada asked that China accept the repatriation of some of the Chinese citizens who have recently entered Canada illegally. China's position on the matter is that sending back the entire boatload or the entire group would be one effective way to shatter the illusions of illegal migrants and bring a halt to illegal migration. China cannot accept Canada's practice of accepting "refugee" applications from some while it repatriates the others [in the group]. So-called "political persecution" does not exist in China. Most of those Chinese citizens making applications as "refugees" in Canada are farmers who are in no way politically persecuted. To accept their "refugee" applications is in effect to encourage illegal migration. If Canada were to refuse "refugee" applications from these people, this would help counter migrant smuggling and halt illegal migration.
It should be pointed out that in the last while some Canadian news media have worked up the issues and used it as an opportunity to make reckless comments on China's internal affairs and attack China's human rights situation. They have also asserted that China is the largest source of illegal migrants to Canada. This is irresponsible and alarmist, and without basis in fact. This approach does not help resolve the illegal migrant problem.
China feels that international cooperation is required to combat illegal migration, and a common effort is needed to bring it to an end. China and Canada look upon each other as friendly countries. Combating and halting illegal migration is in the interests of both countries. China desires to continue its sincere cooperation with Canada to ensure the proper handling of this problem.
Attached please find a translated copy of the Foreign Ministry spokesperson's speech provided by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Ottawa.
This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 9
September 1999. "A Statement from the Spokesperson for the Chinese
Ministry of Foreign Affairs on September 7 Concerning the 'Problem
of Illegal Migrants to Canada.'" Translated by Translation Bureau,
PWGSC, Ottawa, 15 October 1999.