It would be funny were it not so troubling. The line-up to Montreal Pride being vetoed by pro-Beijing elements is absurd but, apparently, it’s also true.

Hong Kong LGBT activists now living in Montreal had planned to march in the recent August pride parade to show their support for both gay rights and democracy in Hong Kong. They’d been approved by the parade organizers and were good to go until the parade received threats that pro-Communist elements would disrupt the parade if the Hong Kong LGBT contingent were allowed to march, according to a report from CBC. So the parade bowed to pressure and booted them from the lineup.

Well known Hong Kong gay rights activists Francis Tang Yiu-kwong even flew to Montreal to join  the group at the parade and instead had to march all by himself, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). But then he was followed throughout the parade by individuals waving Chinese flags so he eventually stepped out of the parade for safety reasons.

It gets worse. 

As the SCMP reports: “A WeChat group with 500 members had earlier discussed Action Free HK MTL’s scheduled participation in the march, with one commenter suggesting that the marchers should be followed, then confronted at the finish line. 

“Wear something comfortable so we can beat them up,” the commenter wrote, adding a laughing emoji.”

The pro-China contingent also marched in the parade unapproved and had the nerve to sing the People’s Republic of China anthem during the moment of silence, which is held annually at all Pride parades to remember those who have died of AIDS.

No media outlet has so far been able to determine who actually made the complaints to Montreal Pride to get Hong Kongers booted from the parade. The police say they never forwarded any information to Pride and know nothing of the threats.

Still, this whole saga is incredibly alarming. These are individuals doing the bidding of the Chinese Communist cause who feel they have the right to dictate who marches in parades, threaten on WeChat to do what amounts to gay-bashing and sing Communist anthems over a memorial.

Recently, there’s been concern that Pride parades are caving to the demands of Black Lives Matter by banning cops. But whatever your views on BLM, at least they consist of Canadians making political demands about things happening in Canada. For all of its messiness, it’s at least an “in the family” squabble.

The same can’t be said here. This is foreign influence – with pro-Beijing elements brazenly thinking they have so much control over our country that they can even do something like dictate what happens at our Pride Parades.

And for those who say Pride isn’t their thing, that’s not the point. This could happen anywhere – any community event or any parade. It’s an assault on our broader society.

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Columnist and op-ed editor for the Sun papers/Postmedia.

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