A Canadian activist attacked by two men in late 2020 has criticized the court for giving his assailants “lenient” sentences and expressed fear that the ruling would encourage further harassment.
Louis Huang, a China and Hong Kong pro-democracy activist from Richmond, British Columbia, told the Toronto Star he was shocked after learning that one of his attackers, Mu Bai, was granted unconditional release last week.
“This isn’t justice,” Huang said. “Since the cost of violence is minimal, it sends a message to our community that we won’t be safe from future attacks.”
Huang was attacked outside the house of Bingchen Gao, an independent Chinese journalist, in Surrey, British Columbia, on Nov. 25, 2020. Gao, a Chinese dissident, asked Huang if he could come with him to Surrey City Hall and the Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to file a complaint against the daily protests that had been ongoing outside his house since September.
While waiting outside Gao’s home, Huang said he was approached by two men who then physically assaulted him. The assailants were later identified as Mu and Yin Shiliang. Huang suffered a broken cheekbone, permanent eye damage and a knocked-out tooth from the attack.
Prosecutor Corrine Proctor sought a four-to-six-month jail sentence for Yin and Mu with a three-month conditional sentence order (house arrest). Yin was only sentenced to a partial house arrest in November, and Mu was released last week with no jail time.
While the prosecutors did not get the sentences they sought for the two assailants, the B.C. Prosecution Service explained in a statement that they were “within the range of appropriate (penalties) based on the circumstances and the relevant case law.”
“The Crown recognized the mitigating circumstances which included the guilty plea and the background of the two offenders including the lack of a criminal record,” a spokesperson said.
Prosecutors could not lodge an appeal as they do not meet the conditions for appealing an illegal or unfit sentence, the spokesperson added.
Yin and Mu were reportedly associated with the New Federal State of China, a political movement group founded by Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and former White House Chief strategist under Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, on June 4, 2020. The group’s aim is to abolish the Chinese Communist Party and create an alternative Chinese state.
The group was reportedly protesting outside Gao’s home almost every day between Sept. 14 and Dec. 1, 2020. They accused Gao of being a Chinese spy who has been “distorting the truth” about the COVID-19 virus, which they claim to be a Chinese bioweapon.