Friday, April 12, 2019

China: Overturning the Trudeau Applecart

"China is known globally for its efforts to influence Chinese communities and the politics of other countries. The Chinese government has a number of official organizations that try to influence Chinese communities and politicians to adopt pro-China positions, most prominently the United Front Work Department."
"[To get what it wants, Beijing mobilizes student groups, diaspora groups] and people who have an economic stake in China, to work behind the scenes."
"As it stands now, an interested Canadian would have to search a number of government websites to understand the most significant threats to Canada."
"For some threats, such as terrorism, information is readily available and regularly updated. ...For other threats, such as organized crime or interference in Canadian politics, information is often limited, scattered among different sources or incomplete. The committee believes that Canadians would be equally well served if more information about threats were readily available."
National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP)

"We should aim to work with those individuals and groups that are at a relatively high level, operate within the mainstream of society and have prospects for advancement."
United Front Work Department training manual
Louis Huang of Vancouver Freedom and Democracy for China holds photos of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who are being detained by China, outside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on March 6, 2019, as Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou appears in court. Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images
"Canada has become a battleground on which the Chinese Communist Party seeks to terrorize, humiliate and neuter its opponents."
"In most cases they [Confucius Institute operating in Canadian Universities] are espionage outstations for Chinese embassies and consulates through which they control Chinese students, gather information on perceived enemies and intimidate dissidents."
Jonathan Manthorpe, foreign affairs journalist, author

"We're going to outline the primary-threat actors, we're going to be examining the threat those actors pose to our institutions and, to a certain extent, our ethno-cultural communities."
"We're working feverishly to get it done."
David McGuinty, NSICOP chair

In 1973, then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau made his third visit to China, this time as Canada's prime minister. In the midst of the unspeakable events of the Cultural Revolution. It was doubtless a trade mission. On his schedule were also the usual must-see historical sites such as the Great Wall of China. While there, an invitation to meet was extended to the prime minister by Chairman Mao Zedong. The beginning of a long and friendly association between the two countries by a prime minister who had personally befriended the leader of another communist country, Fidel Castro of Cuba.

When Jean Chretien became prime minister decades later he led a number of trade missions to China. While there he cultivated personal relationships with a number of high-placed Chinese officials. Preparing his post-PM career as a Canadian trade-missionary to China. As prime minister, Mr. Chretien saw the utility of forging strong trade ties with China. Just as Pierre Trudeau, irritated over constant trade disagreements with Canada's largest trading partner, had been interested in cultivating new trade sources; both Trudeau and Chretien saw potential in trade agreements with China.
People demonstrate for the rights of the Tibetan and Uighur people in front of EU headquarters in Brussels ahead of an EU-China summit on April 9, 2019. Virginia Mayo/AP

Once back in the private sector, Jean Chretien signed on as a member of a large prestigious law group and continued to lead missions to China to forge trade agreements, to help Canadian corporations become established in China. And boasted that Canada's future prosperity in trade lay in China. When Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper came into office he viewed any kind of interaction, business or otherwise with China askance, citing its notorious human rights record. Mr. Chretien went out of his way to scorn Mr. Harper's position.

When the Liberals regained the government with Justin Trudeau as head of the party and new prime minister, it was recognized through his stated sentiments of approval toward China that Canada would once again put its best foot forward to convince China -- now the world's second-largest economy and an international trade magnet --  that a free trade deal with Canada would be in both nations' best interests. When push came to shove and Justin Trudeau visited Beijing thinking he had the trade deal in the bag, reality taught otherwise.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, in December 2017. Sean Kilpatrick/CP
Since then much has changed; on a U.S. Justice Department extradition warrant, Canadian authorities apprehended China's communications giant Huawei Technologies Co.Ltd.'s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou to await extradition to the United States. And then, all hell broke loose, with China's ambassador to Canada calling Canada out for 'racism' while implied threats abounded. Within a week two Canadians working in China were arrested as security threats, another put on death row for drug smuggling, and the export of Canadian canola products abruptly ceased.
Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg attends his retrial, at which he is sentenced to death, in Dalian, China, on Jan. 14, 2019. CCTV/AP
Much earlier the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had claimed that some provincial cabinet ministers and others elected to public office in Canada had fallen under the influence of Beijing; an assertion that brought howls of indignation and a demand for his resignation. The newly appointed NSICOP recently issued a report on terrorism, espionage and foreign influence, along with cyber threats, major organized crime and weapons of mass destruction. Among the top threats listed, China featured large under espionage, cyber threats and foreign influence.

Foreign influence in high places; as an example political donations from Chinese businessmen with links to the leadership of China's Communist Party. Wealthy Chinese businessmen for example, putting on high profile get-togethers, courting Canadian politicians. And Liberal fundraiser events with hefty fees to attend and meet-and-greet members of Cabinet in person, including Justin Trudeau -- with those same money-to-burn Chinese businessmen in attendance.

And there is the issue of Chinese government funding for Canadian universities to set up lavishly funded Confucius Institutes where Chinese culture and language are taught to further friendship and cooperation between the two countries. And which Jonathan Manthorpe, in his book, Claws of the Panda: Beijing's Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada, describes as espionage hubs. Relying on the public record, Manthorpe highlighted Beijing's inducements, intimidation and strong-arm tactics.

China figured prominently as a threat to national security on multiple fronts, in the first-ever annual report of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, released April 9, 2019.Jason Lee/AP

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