Striving to take over the world, China is strengthening its effort to project its influence and wield its soft power overseas. It's influence in Canada is everywhere, with its fingerprints in universities, business communities, media, and the Canadian government.
The Chinese overseas diaspora has become Beijing's powerful arsenal to expand its influence in Canada. Beijing tries to push its agenda abroad through propaganda operations that mobilize the overseas diaspora's loyalty to China. The recent counter-Hong Kong protests by Chinese international students showed that the scheme had born fruit. Two weeks ago, a group of international students from China drove luxury cars in downtown Toronto to block pro-Hong Kong demonstrations. They waved China flags, blasted horns and parroted the communist party’s propaganda.
A pro-China rally at Markham by a score of Chinese Canadians was another sign that Beijing was trying to advance their agendas through the diaspora. The event, headlined by Michael Chan, was part of what appears to be Beijing’s worldwide effort to rally overseas Chinese against the Hong Kong demonstrators.
"We support Hong Kong's police strictly handling unrest, Hong Kong’s government carefully defending the rule of law, China’s government carefully observing Hong Kong," said Chan, former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister, in his keynote speech at the rally. Chan urged authorities in Hong Kong to take a firm hand with the protests.
A secret report circulating among federal government's top bureaucrats warns that Canada faces growing Chinese pressure. With the Chinese diaspora playing an increasingly important role at all level of the Canadian government, the Canadian political system faces heightened risks of being influenced by China. The report also warns that China has launched hostile state activities against Canada, which include influencing our elections and wreaking havoc on our economic and political system.
Chinese meddling in Canada seems unprecedented, with tactic more seductive, agenda more subtle and sophisticated and resources more powerful. But Ottawa seems weak in protecting Canada's interest against Chinese operations, nor has it done enough to protect the democratic voices among Chinese Canadians. The Trudeau government wants to save their relationship with communist China because of China's wealth and economic power.
But Canadians are increasingly wary about China's influence. Recent research suggests that the perceptions Canadians have of the Chinese government are on a negative spiral. As concerns over Beijing's influence intensify, more Canadians demand the government's actions and seek solidarity against a foreign power.
"Canada will forever remain free against foreign influence. If we don't stand together as Canadians, we will all get walked on," said one post on Reddit, a social media in Toronto.
With Canada's election in the crosshairs of foreign operators, whether the next government will succumb to China’s pressure will inevitably become an election issue in the upcoming federal election. The stance of political candidates towards China has been increasingly under the scrutiny of Canadian voters. "Do they support democracy, free speech? And a peaceful demonstration? Or are they close to Beijing and align with the Chinese government? These are the questions I would ask for the candidates when they knock on my door," said a resident at Don Valley North. Currently, a heated Liberal nomination battle is unfolding in the riding heavily concentrated with Chinese Canadians.
The storm is coming. Political parties cannot avoid it, and candidates need to be ready. Like it or not, Canadians will hold their government to account on it.
我们鼓励所有读者在我们的文章和博客上分享意见。We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Visit the FAQ page for more information.