Joanna Chiu 趙淇欣 Profile picture
Journalist @TorontoStar. Chair @NuVoices. Former China and #HK correspondent. Email: DM for Signal or Telegram
Billie Sue Peterson Profile picture James 🌐 Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
14 Jul
THREAD: This is Shivali Lekhi. She saves lives at BC Children’s Hospital as a respiratory therapist.

This morning, she drove with her brothers for hours to their family home to find broken windows and this graffiti. Their parents were alone last night when this happened.
Ramesh Lekhi and his wife were inside when they heard a big bang from the windows breaking.

He showed me the swastika at the front of the house and said he knew what it meant, but had to explain to his wife, who cried the whole night.
This is Abhishek Lekhi, who just graduated from @UBC in Vancouver. He says the graffiti is an act of hatred making him wonder if their family was very truly welcome in the place he and siblings were born and raised.
Read 12 tweets
3 Jul
I’m about to drop another depressing story about Hong Kong with @Nuttallreports. But first, a full minute video documenting the first time kittens Miko and Momo playing with the classic, “ball on string.”
Incredible development. The grey-eared Miko, who earlier didn’t really know what was going on, has made off with the ball leaving Momo with only the stick to play with!
Now, back to our regular programming. What the new Hong Kong security law means for ... everyone on the planet.… @TorontoStar @Nuttallreports #HK #cdnpoli #NationalSecurityLaw
Read 27 tweets
1 Jul
The photo of me on a 2009 visit to my hometown in a Hello Kitty shirt is just for comic relief.

I wrote about why I fear my future children will never get to see the Hong Kong I love.… #HK #NationalSecurityLaw @TorontoStar
The fear of being considered a citizen of China is hard to explain. It feels like being surrounded on a sidewalk in Tianjin by a group of men in tracksuits, getting pushed and verbally abused, until I started speaking in English.… @TorontoStar #HK
Losing one’s human rights under an authoritarian regime is something that has terrified generations of Hong Kongers. It has led hundreds of thousands, including my family, to leave before the 1997 handover. But I returned to work as a journalist.…
Read 18 tweets
8 Jun
EXCLUSIVE: China’s foreign interference likely ‘widespread’ in Canada, says author of new @ASPI_org report on the United Front's activities.… @alexjoske @TorontoStar #cdnpoli #China
The United Front has been an official department of the Chinese Communist Party since 1979, tasked to advance global support for the party by stifling criticism and recruiting allies.

But there has been little attention to its work.… @TorontoStar
This report released today by @ASPI_org @alexjoske draws on extensive reviews of CCP documents, Chinese-language media articles, overseas organizations' websites as well as photographs and posts on Chinese social media platforms including WeChat.…
Read 23 tweets
30 May
Why do some Hong Konger protesters/pro-democracy activists want countries to remove the region's special status? @Nuttallreports explains @chercywong of @alliancecanhk's views here. It's complicated and seems counterintuitive at a glance.…
Trump on Friday ordered his administration to begin the process of eliminating special U.S. treatment for Hong Kong to punish China, but stopped short of calling an immediate end to privileges that helped the territory remain a global financial center.…
China relies on Hong Kong as a first stop for financial and commercial transactions. Many relatives of top party officials do business and own property there, so they are invested in maintaining positive global perceptions of the territory’s status.…
Read 16 tweets
16 Apr
Long before #COVID19, I spent time with B.C. families who were pointing out that Canada’s long-term-care system — in particular a chain of care homes in B.C. owned by the Chinese government — was broken. Now they’re ‘furious and scared’.… @TorontoStar
My photographer friend Jen Osborne told me last year about a group of women on Vancouver Island that formed to organize after a series of incidents made them think their husbands were being severely neglected at a senior home run by Retirement Concepts.…
This is Delores and Don. They've lived on Vancouver Island since 1978 following Don's career in the navy. When he got dementia, Delores took care of him as long as she could, but when a government-subsidized spot at a care home opened up, she thought he would be safer there.
Read 26 tweets
11 Mar
#Coronavirus and your mental health: Two experts explain why we panic and how to cope.… @TorontoStar #mentalhealth #health #COVID19
I spoke with a psychologist and a sociologist, both from China originally with personal experiences worrying about their family members, after asking readers for your questions about #coronavirus #COVID19 and your mental health.… @TorontoStar
When @yueqian_soc learned that her hometown of #Wuhan was under quarantine, she felt helpless as she realized her father was trapped at the epicentre of the #coronavirus outbreak.

Here’s how what her dad did next inspired her research:… @TorontoStar
Read 17 tweets
6 Mar
#BREAKING: B.C. has its first #COVID19 case from someone from Washington state who was visiting family in the Fraser Health region around #Vancouver.

Total cases in B.C. has now reached 21 with 8 newly confirmed cases in the last day.… @TorontoStar
#BREAKING B.C.'s top Health Officer says the patient is a Seattle woman in her fifties who was visiting family in B.C. and sought assessment for respiratory illness and tested positive for #COVID19 #coronavirus… @TorontoStar
.@wanyeelii @alex_mckeen wrote earlier about whether there should be more measures to prevent transmission of #COVID19 cases across the border.

Today B.C. confirmed its first case of a Seattle woman who travelled to Canada and tested positive.…
Read 9 tweets
8 Nov 19
1) Thinking about accents, and how I have 3 "foreign" accents and don't speak any language like a "native". When I speak English, I have a Cantonese accent. In Cantonese, I have a North American English accent and in Mandarin I have BOTH a Cantonese and NA English accent.
So my whole life I've struggled with shame about not speaking like a native speaker - anywhere. Today someone on the phone remarked (good naturedly) about my Chinese accent and asked if I was from China. I felt very conflicted because I was born in British-controlled Hong Kong.
It's a mystery why my Cantonese accent is so obvious. I came to Canada when I was 2 years old. Despite serious efforts, I never learned how to pronounce "th". It sounds like "d" or "f" which is very annoying because people get confused when I try to say any number including "3".
Read 16 tweets
11 Oct 19
CLIP: I attended a talk at @UBC Vancouver by a Chinese official, Yu Jiantou of the @CDRF15, and asked him about detention camps in #Xinjiang. He defended the camps as “vocational training” and said China has different priorities when it comes to human rights. Story coming soon.
@UBC @CDRF15 For context, see this earlier story by colleague @Nuttallreports. The same institute that invited Hu Angang invited Yu yesterday. The UBC-affiliated moderator did not correct the record to clarify the camps are compulsory and have prison-like conditions.…
In above video, the moderator is UBC Institute of Asian Research fellow Evan Due. Due is a senior adviser to the Chinese government research foundation where Yu is Assistant Secretary General. UBC hasn’t answered questions on whether he was an appropriate choice for moderator.
Read 20 tweets
12 Sep 19
Thread: The Vancouver journalist community has been engulfed in controversy around an anti-immigrant oped. It’s a good moment to all figure out how to do better. That’s why I was disappointed at my treatment by my peers in a crowded press scrum today.…
It was Trudeau's campaign launch tonight in a fairly small auditorium. Like the other press, I filed in and stepped onto the small stage for reporters to view the rally. I was filming live video. As soon as I got on the stage, reporters around me started asking if I would move.
Multiple journalists, at least 3, at different times asked me to move to make space for them, including someone who was just taking notes and not recording. I politely refused each time, to their surprise and annoyance. I was the only woman of colour in that corner of the stage.
Read 14 tweets
12 Aug 19
We’re covering Hong Kong from Vancouver as well as Toronto, including Canada links. Follow @starvancouver @TorontoStar @temurdur @JennyPengNow @Nuttallreports for more.
@starvancouver @TorontoStar @temurdur @JennyPengNow @Nuttallreports My briefing for the @CKNW @steeletalk show on what has happened in Hong Kong the last two days.… #hongkong HT to all the reporters on the ground in Hong Kong providing 24/7 coverage.
Read 5 tweets
7 Jul 19
Thread: Here’s the route for the march through areas most popular with mainland Chinese tourists in #Kowloon. Hong Kong protesters are trying to raise awareness about their causes in the mainland, where news of the movement have been strictly censored. #AntiELAB
Many wearing black heading out of Tsim Sha Tsui station.
A volunteer first aid worker has a whole first kit in his backpack and in a belt around his waist.
Read 39 tweets
25 Mar 19
Thread about airplane creeps: I’m on a plane from a late-evening stopover from and was very tired and had a row to myself to sleep but couldn’t avoid noticing what was going on in the row behind me.
A man appearing in his late thirties was obviously delighted to be seated next to a teenager separated from the rest of her family. He started off by asking about her career plans and laughed when she said she wanted to be CEO and kept giving her ridiculous advice.
She was friendly and he seemed to take that as a welcome cue to get very familiar and started teasing her and kept saying that he wanted to take her out to eat, which she was ignoring. At this point I had to stay awake in case anything went further than that.
Read 34 tweets
19 Mar 19
1/ How transphobic backlash hit after city cut funding to Vancouver Rape Relief because it excludes trans people, days after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favour of a trans youth to access treatment despite father's objection… @torontostar @starvancouver
2/ Some tweets insisted that “trans women are men” and accused trans women of being sexual predators. One called a trans person an “indignant g-sh,” a slang term for “vulva” or “something useless.”

“People have really strong views about whether trans women are women," -@VanAlias
3/ We discussed whether we should reproduce some of the hateful comments but giving a sense of the vitriol was important to help readers understand the backlash against the city's support of trans inclusion. Story on funding decision by @TessaVikander:…
Read 11 tweets
26 Jan 19
THREAD: On how I got the exclusive interview yesterday with Canadian ambassador to China #JohnMcCallum at a dim sum restaurant. He resigned today at the request of the prime minister.…
A friend had told me about this charity dim sum lunch in downtown Vancouver’s Victoria restaurant. The organizer initially was open to me coming but then disinvited me because McCallum’s comments on #MengWanzhou were so controversial. He was a guest of honour. I went anyways.
I started by taking a photo of McCallum sitting next to Christy Clark. I didn’t understand why other journalists who also got wind of the event were just standing to the side. There were no staff blocking media from entering. Maybe I’m rude from years as a foreign correspondent?
Read 15 tweets
7 Dec 18
THREAD: @StarVancouver is reporting live from Wanzhou Meng’s bail hearing in B.C. Supreme Court. The #Huawei CFO was arrested in Vancouver Saturday. This story will be updated all day.… Follow: @Mui24hours @jwints @Nuttallreports #MengWanzhou #Huaweiarrest
Dozens of journalists including many international media are waiting to enter Court 20 for #MengWanzhou bail hearing #Huaweiarrest #Huawei at B.C. Supreme Court.
Lawyer Richard Kurland tells us: It’ll be up to Meng and her legal team to prove she is not likely to flee Canada if she gets bail. Meng is being sought by the U.S. Attorney’s Eastern District of New York office (Brooklyn) to face unspecified charges.…
Read 76 tweets
14 Jul 18
I did the most #ADHD thing the other day. I took one pill then got distracted + took another, so ended up wired when one dose makes me like a "normal" person. I'm coming out as ADHD now after building a record of hard work bc there's stigma. Lmk if you have qs about pros and cons
I'm in good company with Michael Phelps and Einstein 🙂. Basically even without meds I'm able to hyperfocus on what I'm interested in accomplishing but if you ask me to do something boring I'll be incredibly inept.…
Also #ADHD is linked with higher sensitivity to things like bright lights, sounds and textures. I was only diagnosed a few years ago and just thought before that knit turtlenecks were a medieval torture device.
Read 23 tweets
21 May 18
I was only able to really briefly touch on the precarious status of some news assistants in foreign media bureaus -- unsung heroes of journalism in China in my opinion. The complicated situation best described here by a former "assistant":…
Would be interested in hearing about status of local journalists working for foreign media bureaus elsewhere. I heard the situation isn't very good in Iraq, but I'm ignorant about what's happening outside China.
From Yajun in the piece: "Chinese news assistants perform a job that is not well known by the public. Due to language barriers and official hurdles, many correspondents rely on their news assistants for story ideas, finding interviewees, translation and research."
Read 16 tweets
16 Mar 18
A complicated situation on the ground: Writers face opaque and ever-shifting rules on banned subjects. Most self-censor to some degree to avoid repercussions that could end their careers. But many are also unwilling to avoid sensitive subjects.…
Despite many frustrations, there is still relatively more freedom of expression in online publishing, compared to traditional print. The prominent role of #socialmedia in #China has made creative fields more democratic as consumers have more ways to support creators.
As online censorship restrictions tighten, a deleted post is the least of some users’ worries. Writers and organizations have to contend with the possibility
that their social media accounts will get shut down entirely, or that administrators will get arrested.
Read 9 tweets