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Global Democracies in Retreat, What's at Stake?

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Location

Vancouver Public Library, Central Library

350 West Georgia Street

Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1

Canada

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Event description
Global Democracies in Retreat. What's at stake? A speaker series to uncover the current realities as the global world order shifts.

About this Event

Event information

Sunday, Jan 19

Our Voices Under Oppression. Human Rights And The Authoritarian State

2:30pm - 5:00pm

A conversation with Anastasia Lin to understand why there is no freedom of speech outside of China, followed by an open panel of voices from the Hong Kong Diaspora, Tibetan Community, Uyghur Community and Taiwanese Community to understand how human rights are being oppressed in their respective communities.

Speaker bio:

Anastasia Lin is an award-winning actress, and human rights advocate. In 2015, Lin won the Miss World Canada title, and was to represent Canada at the Miss World pageant in China. However, she was refused a visa and declared a persona non grata by Chinese authorities for her outspoken views on the country’s human rights violations and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The news of her rejection—and subsequent attempt to enter China—caused global media attention for weeks, leading to a front page article in The New York Times and op-eds in major newspapers. Since then, she has been invited to speak at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the Oxford Union, and the Geneva Human Rights Summit at the UN, and has testified in the US Congress, the UK Parliament, and the Taiwanese Legislative Assembly. Currently, she serves as Ambassador for China policy at Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa; Scholar in Residence at Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia; and senior fellow at the Roaul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

Tuesday, Jan 21

International Human Rights: What’s At Stake And Why Hong Kong Matters

6:30pm - 9:00pm

A keynote and conversation with Sharon Hom to explore what is happening across the globe in relation to Human Rights. In a time when the People’s Republic of China is stepping up its efforts to replace the international human rights standards with “human rights with Chinese characteristics,” Hong Kong’s struggle to safeguard its rights has profound implications for people around the world. This talk will examine the role and implications of international human rights standards and obligations for democratic states, civil society, and the business community.

Speaker bio:

Sharon K. Hom is Executive Director of Human Rights in China (HRIC), where she leads its international advocacy and strategic policy engagement with NGOs, governments, and multi-stakeholder initiatives. Hom has presented extensively on a variety of human rights issues before key European, U.S., and international policymakers, including the European Parliament, the U.S. Congress, and the UN Human Rights Council. In September 2019, she testified at the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing, “Hong Kong’s Summer of Discontent and U.S. Policy Responses.” Professor of law emerita at the CUNY School of Law, Hom taught law for 18 years, including training judges, lawyers, and law teachers at eight law schools in China. She is an Adjunct Professor of law at New York University School of Law (2017- present), where she teaches the “Human rights, Civil Society, and the Internet in China” seminar; and a Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law (2019), where she taught two human rights seminars. Hom appears as a commentator in broadcast programs worldwide and is quoted in major print media frequently. In 2007, she was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “50 Women to Watch.”

Thursday, Jan 23

Democracies Under Threat: Foreign Policies, Trade Wars, AI and Surveillance

6:30pm - 9:00pm

Jonathan Miller will explore the intricacies and disruptions in the international system and its impact on democracies, while Andrew Wagner will dive into AI, surveillance and technology that is being harnessed by authoritarian regimes.

Speaker bio:

Jonathan Miller is the Deputy Director and a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Advancing Canada's Interests Abroad at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. He is an international affairs professional with expertise on security, defence and intelligence issues in Northeast Asia and has held a variety of positions in the private and public sector. Currently, he is a Senior Fellow with the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) and a Distinguished Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada. In addition, Miller previously spent nearly a decade working on economic and security issues related to Asia with the Canadian federal government and worked both with the foreign ministry and the security community. He also regularly provides advice and presents to multilateral organizations and foreign governments on regional geopolitics.

Andrew Wagner teaches cybersecurity as a government contractor and is the founder of CoinFest, ESL Coin and Blockchain Gaming.

Saturday, Jan 25

Digital Democracy, Misinformation And Propaganda

2:00pm - 4:30pm

Taylor Owen, Joanna Chiu, and Leta Hong Fincher will explore how freedom of information is crucial for a healthy democracy and the issues faced in an increasingly authoritarian world. They will also look into how misinformation and propaganda is being carefully used as weapons by autocrats and special interest groups

Speaker bio:

Taylor Owen is the Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications and Associate Professor in the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. He was previously Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, and the Research Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University where he led a program studying the impact of digital technology on the practice of journalism. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and on the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). He is the founder of the international affairs media platform OpenCanada.org, and he is the author, most recently, of Disruptive Power: The Crisis of the State in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2015) and the co-editor of The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink its Foreign Policies (University of Toronto Press, 2015, with Roland Paris).

Joanna Chiu is a senior journalist at the Toronto Star, covering China-Canada relations and current affairs on the West Coast. She was previously a Beijing-based correspondent for Agence France Presse (AFP), leading coverage of China’s human rights, legal issues and social affairs for one of the world’s biggest news operations. She has also served as China and Mongolia correspondent for the top German news agency DPA, and in Hong Kong, she reported for the South China Morning Post, The Economist and The Associated Press. Joanna Chiu is also a founding member and serves as chair for NüVoices, a writers’ and artists’ collective promoting the diverse work of women on China.

Leta Hong Fincher is the Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute. She has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Dissent Magazine and others. She won the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for her China reporting. Fluent in Mandarin, Leta is the first American to receive a Ph.D. from Tsinghua University's Department of Sociology in Beijing. She has a master's degree from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree with high honors from Harvard University. Leta’s latest book, Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China, was named one of the best books of 2018 by Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Foreign Policy Interrupted, Bitch Media and Autostraddle. Leta's first book, Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, was named one of the top 5 China books of 2014 by the Asia Society’s ChinaFile, one of the best books in 2014 by Foreign Policy Interrupted and one of the best Asian books of 2014 by Asia House.

Organizers:

Brought to you by Canadian Democracy and Human Rights Coalition, Alliance Canada-Hong Kong, Vancouverites Concerned About Hong Kong, Vancouver HK Action Group, Vancouver Hong Kong Political Activists, VSSDM, Vancouver Uyghur Association.

Accessibility:

For accessibility requests, please contact canhrdc@gmail.com two weeks prior to the program with information regarding the requested accommodation.

Parking:

  • Pay Parking. The entrance to the Easy Park parking garage below the library building is on Hamilton Street (near Robson Street)
  • Specially designated handicapped parking stalls beside doors to the elevators in the parking garage
  • 2 hour meter parking is available around Library Square
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Location

Vancouver Public Library, Central Library

350 West Georgia Street

Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1

Canada

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