The Nanfang / Blog

Canadian Living in Shenzhen Jailed, Accused of Espionage

Posted: 06/11/2014 1:21 pm

ryan collins canadian espionage charges shenzhenA Canadian man living in Shenzhen claims that he was wrongfully jailed for refusing to spy on the Canadian government in what CityNews, a Canadian broadcaster, describes as a ”disturbing government secret”.

Ryan Collins moved to Shenzhen in 2010 and began working as a freelance computer repairman. Recently, the owner of a software company offered him a proposal.

“He had asked me to get into the Canadian government via a software program, paired with hardware which would be used by the Chinese government through this individual and his company to commit espionage in Canada,” said Collins.

When Collins realized the magnitude of what was being asked of him, he rejected the offer and tried to end his relationship with this individual. However, Collins said he was arrested for espionage and taken to prison where he was allegedly beaten.

ryan collins canadian espionage charges shenzhen

“What I uncovered is something I never asked to see,” Collins said, “I was framed for crimes that I did not commit because of what I had seen and what I was asked to do.”

After spending eight days in prison, Collins was finally released after his family paid a fine worth approximately CAD$1,000.

Collins is currently at a safehouse in Hong Kong and says that his bank account has been frozen. His family is currently trying to get the proper funds to buy Collins an airplane ticket home.

“The last few weeks of my life have been like a movie. It’s like something you’d see in Hollywood,” he said.

Collins said threats upon his life continue to be made. “I was told very early that [the owner] could come to my house and put a bullet in my brain and nobody would care and nobody would know.”

According to CityNews, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirms it has been in contact with the Canadian consulate regarding a Canadian citizen over a recent matter, but it did not identify the individual.

ryan collins canadian espionage charges shenzhen


Photo: CityTV News screencaps


Canadian Expats Given Right to Vote in Canadian Federal Elections

Posted: 05/6/2014 6:08 pm


After having lost the right to vote when living abroad for over five years, expat Canadians are now able to vote in federal elections, reports the Toronto Star.

In striking down the law, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny ruled the section of the Canada Election Act that barred long-time expatriates from voting as “unconstitutional”. Penny wrote in his decision that “This is not the lawmakers’ decision to make — the Charter makes this decision for us,” and noted that citizenship is the fundamental requirement for voting, not residency.

Finally—a reason to care about Canada that isn’t related to hockey. But with the next federal election tentatively slated for October 19, 2015, how familiar are you with the current political climate of Canada?

Currently, the Conservatives enjoy a majority government with Stephen Harper as PM after several failed minority governments, but they and the New Democratic Party have slipped in the polls as the Liberals have gained popularity.

So as a brief re-introduction to Canadian politics, here is the very least you should know about the leaders of the top federal parties in Canada as told from another expat who knows nothing about Canadian politics:

stephen harper

Stephen Harper,
leader of the Federal Conservative Party, current Prime Minister of Canada:
His French has likely improved. it couldn’t have gotten any worse.

thomas mulcair

Thomas Mulcair,
leader of the federal New Democratic Party:
He’s not Jack Layton.

justin trudeau

Justin Trudeau (on the right),
leader of the federal Liberal Party:
Son of Pierre, he’s likely the only chance Canada has at having a Prime Minister who can date a movie star. An American movie star.

The Bloc Quebecois is currently without leader, and the Green Party is, well, the Green Party.

Now that you’re up to date, political conservatives can continue to be upset at voters like us from overseas. Olivia Chow had previously fanned controversy after appealing to voters in Hong Kong eligible to vote in the Toronto municipal election to help her defeat the “shame” that is Rob Ford.

Be sure to vote.

Photo: adrianbribassi, Breaking News,  HuffPo, Winnepig Free Press


Hey Canadians: stay here too long and you could lose the right to vote at home

Posted: 05/25/2012 9:00 am

Like citizens of other countries, Canadians in China have typically been eligible to vote in their national elections.  But that could change soon.

A law was enacted in 1993 which said Canadians who lived abroad for a continuous period of more than five years would be ineligible to vote.  Fortunately for Canadian expats, that law was only loosely enforced.  But since 2007, the Canadian government has been cracking down, resulting in some expats surprised they were unable to vote in the last federal election.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation says since 2007, the government has felt that the law should be enforced to “more clearly reflect the intention of Parliament”:

Until then, the five-year clock would reset for expats who returned even for short visits. Now, they have to “resume residency” before leaving again to regain their right to vote abroad.

Jamie Duong, 28, of Ithaca, N.Y., said he was “shocked” to learn he couldn’t vote in last year’s federal election.

Duong said he is in the United States because that’s where he found work, and that he remains deeply connected to Canada.

In fact, Duong said, he follows Canadian news more closely than many of the friends he grew up with in Montreal and other parts of the country.

“No matter where I live, I will always see myself as a citizen of Canada,” he said.

According to economist Don DeVoretz, professor emeritus of Simon Fraser University, close to 10 per cent of all Canadians live abroad – a larger population than all but four of the provinces. About one-third of them live in the United States.

Two Canadians, who currently live in the United States, are now challenging the law as unconstitutional.  It looks like they have some support, too: former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley called for the rule to be scrapped in 2005, and was unanimously supported by a parliamentary standing committee.

Of course, if the law doesn’t get struck down, Canadians in China will be in the unique position of being unable to vote where they live, *or* where they’re from.



Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV