VANCOUVER: Chinese children adopted by white Canadians admit there are challenges

Chuck Chiang: For Chinese children adopted by white Canadian parents, birth culture is both ‘foreign’ and an opportunity

Children at an International Children’s Day celebration at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver. Held by the local Chinese consulate, the event drew members of about 20 B.C. families with children adopted from China.

Photograph by: Handout

Earlier this year, I was doing the dishes when a documentary on TV caught my eye.

Twin Sisters by Norwegian filmmaker Mona Friis Bertheussen detailed the tales of two girls — identical twins — who were adopted from China by two families, one in Sacramento, Calif., the other in a small village in Norway.

The film is beautifully made, highlighting the girls’ innate connection to one another despite growing up in vastly different environments and cultures. It touched on issues of identity for internationally adopted children — something that would strike a chord with countless immigrant children whose parents’ culture varies drastically from the mainstream that shaped their childhood.

According to Statistics Canada, almost 21,000 children were adopted from abroad by Canadians 1999 to 2009, including 8,000 from China.

A week ago, the Chinese Consulate hosted International Children’s Day celebrations at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver. The event drew about 20 B.C. families with children adopted from China.

Officials describe these families as an important bridge between cultures, a sign of the growing person-to-person interaction between Canada and the Far East. Several parents explained how they had to “stretch” outside of their usual comfort zone and learn more about another culture for the sake of their children

“Our families are the symbols for the link between China and Canada, and we hope that these children continue to serve as a link to help other Canadians learn more about China,” Eamon Duffy said at the event. He is co-chair of the group Families with Children from China.

The marriage of cultures present challenges that parents and children both readily admit to.

“I remember, when Wednesdays would come around and it was time to go to Mandarin class, I would hide, pretend to be sick,” recounted Maia Robinson, 19, who had taken Chinese language classes since age 5. “I spent a lot of time studying Mandarin, and I remember I used to always resent it.”

Maia and her sister Cleone, 17, were adopted from China when they were infants. The family lives in West Vancouver.

Traditional Chinese Medicine continues cultural clash with the West in Vancouver

Traditional Chinese Medicine continues cultural clash with the West in Vancouver


A Traditional Chinese medicine shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

A Traditional Chinese medicine shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Last week, customs officials seized 213 bear paws that were hidden hidden inside the tires of a van. The culprits were two Russian men looking to cash in on their medicinal value in China. Their horrific display of wares had an estimated street value of about 570,000 Canadian dollars.

While particularly disquieting, the scene is not an entirely unfamiliar one here in the West.

In 2011, a man was arrested at the Vancouver Airport after trying to smuggle three black-bear paws.

And earlier this year, at the 5 Tastes Chinese Bistro in the Vancouver’s UBC Village, firefighters found a black bear paw inside one of the restaurant’s refrigerators after responding to a call.

In various parts of Asia, bear paws are fashioned into a soup that can cost as much as $1000 a bowl, a sum that is won for the dish’s exoticism and purported health benefits. The practice has an even more grisly underbelly: in some places, it has been reported that live bears were lowered onto hot coals until their paws were sufficiently cooked.

But it’s not just bears. Other animal parts are as equally prized by smugglers.

In October, officials confiscated 1007 live turtles from a man looking to board a flight to board a flight to Shanghai. This came just weeks after another man was arrested at the Detroit-Windsor border with 51 live turtles hidden in his pants.

VANCOUVER: Chinese real estate agent hoping to see more Chinese buyers in Vancouver

Freer flow of Chinese currency could boost sales, Vancouver realtor says

Freer flow of Chinese currency could boost sales, Vancouver realtor says

Photo of Vancouver realtor Layla Yang from her website.

Photograph by: PNG , Archive

West side Vancouver realtor Layla Yang had some deals fall apart in February 2014 when the federal government ended its immigrant investor program.

“That had a big impact,” said Yang, who nevertheless said she sold 94 single-family homes on the west side and in Richmond last year.

“Ninety per cent (of my sales were) to people from mainland China. Most of them are here. They are very new (immigrants), which I consider to be here for under 10 years.”

Now, she is again watching news headlines to gauge how her business might change as Beijing shows signs of easing restrictions on how much money can flow out of China as part of an aggressive strategy to promote its currency overseas.

With Chinese officials floating the idea of removing the existing $50,000-a-year limit on how much Chinese currency an individual can take out of the country each year, Yang is looking forward to this having “some positive effect on the real estate market (here).”

Chinese citizen Bao Sheng Zhong arrested in fake gold scam

CTV Vancouver: Arrest in fake gold scam
A gold scam that made its way around the world arrived in Metro Vancouver, where investors are duped into thinking they’re buying history.
CTV Vancouver
Published Monday, June 29, 2015 1:40PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, June 29, 2015 8:11PM PDT

B.C. Mounties have arrested a 44-year-old Chinese national accused of bilking locals into buying fake gold ingots and Buddha figurines.

The victims were befriended by a man claiming to be from the construction industry, who told them he’d unearthed the treasures by chance along with an ancient will.

It’s unclear how many people the alleged fraudster approached, but the RCMP said two women and a man from across the Lower Mainland were tricked into paying for the phony gold.

 Gold ingots and Buddha figurines

The RCMP has arrested a man accused of selling fake ingots and Buddha figurines to Lower Mainland residents. June 29, 2015. (Handout)

Mounties said similar crimes have been reported in other parts of the world, including Japan, Singapore and the U.S., but this appears to be the first case in Canada.

“We pulled all the stops. We hated seeing this type of crime occurring in our backyard,” Const. Jon Francis of the Richmond RCMP Economic Crime Unit said in a statement.

The victims tested the ingots before buying them, but the RCMP said the scammer managed to switch in a sample of authentic gold using sleight of hand.

Anyone purchasing high-value gold items is urged to have them individually tested by an independent testing facility, and to obtain legal counsel for their protection.

The accused, Bao Sheng Zhong, is charged with three counts of fraud. The RCMP said Zhong is a Chinese citizen who has been living in Richmond.

Consul-General Liu Fei suggests Chinese style rules and regulations to deal with Vancouver’s house prices and affordability crisis

Chinese envoy says lack of oversight behind Vancouver’s house-price crisis 

Iain Marlow, The Globe and Mail
7:27 AM, E.T. | June 24, 2015
Real Estate

The Chinese government’s top envoy in Vancouver says the city’s skyrocketing house prices and affordability crisis are due to a lack of regulation in the booming real estate market.

In a wide-ranging interview over tea at the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, Consul-General Liu Fei said local residents are blaming wealthy Chinese buyers for the city’s increasingly costly real estate but that the real blame lies with officials who monitor buyers, sellers and real estate developers.

“People are blaming the buyer. It’s the wrong direction,” said Ms. Liu, who has served in Vancouver since 2011. “I mean, the regulation here, nobody’s playing the role.”

Ms. Liu said this situation would not be allowed to occur in China, and pointed out that China’s government frequently wades into the country’s real estate market, and has strict policies with regard to affordable housing. She suggested a number of possible measures Vancouver could take to make housing more affordable, including the introduction of quotas to increase the number of affordable housing units within new buildings, greater oversight of real estate developers from the city and a tax or fee for overseas investors who want to buy luxury properties in the West Coast city.

Cootes Paradise Fishway: Officials believe adult Chinese Mitten Crab was smuggled into Canada and then released possibly for religious reasons

3 hours ago
June 23, 2015

Asian crab in Cootes believed to be deliberately released



Courtesy Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans

Officials believe this Chinese Mitten Crab was smuggled into Canada and then released.
Hamilton Spectator

A federal government invasive species expert believes the Asian crab found Monday in Cootes Paradise was deliberately released, possibly for religious reasons, by someone who smuggled the creature into Canada.

Becky Cudmore, of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, says it’s the only reasonable explanation for the sudden appearance of the adult Chinese Mitten Crab that was found at the Cootes Paradise Fishway Monday.

In some belief systems, she says, if you release “a very highly valued organism, a long-lived organism or hardy organism into the wild … it provides points for your karma afterlife.”

The crab was found at the Cootes Paradise Fishway by Royal Botanical Gardens workers. The fishway, between Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise on the Desjardins Canal, is designed to keep carp out of Cootes marsh and allow other native, desirable fish species to pass through.

Cudmore feels the crab could not have been accidentally introduced to Hamilton Harbour through ballast water in a ship, as is sometimes the case with invasive species, because of strict monitoring and the fact that it was an adult.

It would not have been able to survive very long in the harbour, she says, because of the harbour would have vastly different environmental conditions than would be found in Asia.

There have been 24 Chinese Mitten crabs recorded in the Great Lakes between 1965 to 2007, says Cudmore. The one found Monday is the first since 2007 in the Great Lakes and the first ever in Hamilton Harbour.

“It is a very valuable food item in some markets,” she says. However, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not allow the crab to be imported partly out of concern over a parasite it carries that can be harmful to human health.

More later.

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