A man who boldly identified himself as the leader of a group that staged a prolonged protest outside a Guildford resident’s house, accusing him of being a Chinese spy, has seven days later done a 180-degree recant, apologizing to Bingchen (Benson) Gao, his family and neighbours.
Two years ago, members of the New Federal State of China, besieged Gao and his neighbourhood for 77 days in the 9700-block of 149 Street.
They returned on Jan. 20 for a second round, this time set for 15 days, but the protest appears to have at least for the time being petered out.
Former protest leader Shiliang Yin, identifying himself now as “Cobe,” staged a presser in Gao’s cul-de-sac, with Gao – a journalist who files for a Chinese language newspaper in Vancouver and comments on YouTube – doing a broadcast of his own in front of a huge sign on his front lawn that heralded “The only truth is the truth now.”
Yin, aka Cobe, read from a statement that NFSC put him in charge of a “traitor punishment operation” outside Gao’s home. He now says his group “never had any evidence to accuse Mr. Gao of being a CCP spy.”
“I deeply regret my reckless behaviours and I am very sorry for Mr. Gao, Mr. Gao’s family and the residents of the entire family,” the Richmond resident and former computer programmer said. He immigrated to Canada from China in 2008.
Reading from a lengthy statement, Yin said he’s “ashamed” for the “strange protest.”
He said individual protesters were paid $200 a day for their participation, and some “believed that participating in such events can lead to political asylum visas.”
He said he himself was promised his legal fees and living expenses would be paid for, but has received nothing.
Asked what led to his change of heart, and if he was experiencing a crisis of conscience, Yin replied, “all the things they promised me, I got nothing. So I understand the whole thing, what they said, is not true.”
“I got brainwashed,” he said. Asked why he’s calling himself Cobe now, he replied “because I like to play basketball, that’s why I used Kobe Bryant’s name,” the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
Gao, who has always denied the allegation he’s a spy, told the Now-Leader through his translator Dr. Louis Huang – whom Yin assaulted during the 2020 protest – that “today, through Mr. Yin’s mouth, we learn the truth behind this very strange two protests in front of this house.”
He added it was a “very, very hard hardship for them.”
Asked if Gao accepts Yin/Cobe’s apology, Gao said through his translator he accepts his apology to him and to society and that he wants “other members of this group” to know “what Cobe has done today, sooner or later they’re going to do the same thing.”
Huang was “brutally beaten” in the cul-de-sac in 2020 by Yin and another protester. Yin received a seven-month conditional sentence for the assault. Yin/Cobe expressed “deep apologies” to Huang on Friday.
Standing near the spot where he was kicked in the head, and a few strides from Yin on Friday, Huang said the two had never met before the attack.
“That’s the hatred, just because of the brainwash,” he remarked.
Alice Zheng, Gao’s wife, said her husband might sue the protesters for defamation if he’s able to identify them. Asked if Yin (Cobe) arrived at his retraction by himself or was told to back off, she replied, “just ask him, I have no idea.”