Canada – China 2022

Written by  //  December 10, 2022  //  Canada, Foreign Policy  //  No comments

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canada-China Relations: A Discussion With David Mulroney

10 December
Ian Bremmer: It’s not over: Xi Jinping’s rebuke of Justin Trudeau could bring economic consequences
Chinese President Xi Jinping has a habit of bullying small democracies. Politically unchallenged at home and increasingly assertive abroad, China’s strongman leader responds with threats and intimidation when less powerful countries have the nerve to upset Beijing.
So when Mr. Xi confronted Justin Trudeau in full view of the world’s media at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last month, he was making an example of Canada’s Prime Minister. Mr. Trudeau’s supposed offence? Briefing reporters that he had raised alleged Chinese interference in Canadian elections during a short bilateral meeting. Mr. Xi’s behaviour was revealing. You can bet he would never speak like that to the U.S. President.
The episode – coming in the wake of China’s abduction of two Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig – should be clarifying. When Mr. Xi told Mr. Trudeau that in the aftermath of their confrontation, “the results can’t be predicted,” it wasn’t a veiled threat but a fairly direct one. There could be tangible consequences in store for Canada, particularly economic ones.

8 December
Canadian government suspends RCMP radio contract with Chinese-owned company
The federal government has suspended a $550,000 contract to supply the RCMP with radio equipment made by a Canadian company with Chinese owners after a backlash over the deal.
Sinclair Technologies, the supplier, is a division of Norsat International, a Vancouver company purchased by China’s Hytera Communications Corp. in 2017. Hytera was blacklisted by the U.S. government in 2021 over national security concerns.
Back then, the Trudeau government approved the sale to Hytera without a formal extended national security review, a decision that was criticized in Canada and the United States.

27 November
Trudeau government unveils long-awaited plan to confront an ‘increasingly disruptive’ China
Strategy promises a bigger Canadian military footprint in the region
Canada’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy describes China as “an increasingly disruptive global power” on the world stage — a social and economic force that’s too big to ignore but is also increasingly focused on bending international rules to suit its own interests.
Using some surprisingly blunt language, the strategy says the Canadian government needs to be “clear-eyed” about China’s objectives in the Far East and elsewhere. It promises to spend almost half a billion dollars over five years on improving military and intelligence co-operation with allies in the region.
“China’s rise, enabled by the same international rules and norms that it now increasingly disregards, has had an enormous impact on the Indo-Pacific, and it has ambitions to become the leading power in the region,” says the 26-page document, which was provided to the media in advance of its formal release in Vancouver on Sunday.

24 November
Benedict Rogers and his new book “The China Nexus” (YouTube)
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, and Optimum Publishing International are pleased to host British human rights activist and journalist Benedict Rogers for the launch of his book “The China Nexus”.
Benedict Rogers first went to China at age eighteen to teach English for six months in Qingdao, three years after the Tiananmen Square massacre. That opened the door to a thirty-year adventure with China, from teaching English in schools and hospitals to working as a journalist in Hong Kong for the first five years after the handover to travelling to China’s borders with Myanmar/Burma and North Korea to document the plight of refugees escaping from Beijing-backed satellite dictatorships and then campaigning for human rights in China. This book tells the story of his fight for freedom for the peoples of China and neighbouring countries Myanmar and North Korea and sets out how a global movement for human rights in China is emerging and what the free world should do next.

26 October-23 November
The RCMP is investigating Chinese ‘police’ stations in Canada. Here’s what to know
The RCMP says it is investigating “reports of criminal activity in relation to so-called Chinese ‘police’ stations” in Canada.
Safeguard Defenders, a pan-Asian human rights organization based in Spain, alleged in a September report that China has established three overseas police “service stations” in Canada in accordance with Chinese-run associations as a tactic to capture individuals targeted by the Chinese government.

22 November
Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa commends Trudeau for standing up to China. But action must match the tough talk, she writes. McCuaig-Johnston provides five concrete measures the federal government can take today to stop foreign interference, including introducing comprehensive legislation on the problem as the United Kingdom did earlier this year.
5 ways for Canada to tackle Chinese interference after the Trudeau-Xi showdown
In recent weeks, Trudeau and his senior cabinet ministers have demonstrated courage in standing up to China. But words aren’t enough. Rhetoric must be matched with serious action. The issues are too urgent for complacency.
(The Conversation) In April 2021, Conservative MP Kenny Chiu was so concerned about potential Chinese interference in Canada’s political system that he proposed a Foreign Influence Registry Act similar to those in the United States and Australia. The act requires anyone acting on behalf of foreign interests to be publicly identified.
Soon after, bots were mobilized and a disinformation campaign was waged against Chiu on Chinese social media platforms, including WeChat and Weibo, calling him “anti-China,” misrepresenting the legislation and playing a role in his loss in the September 2021 election.
Global News recently reported that intelligence sources believe China’s Toronto consulate interfered in the 2019 federal election by providing $250,000 in funding via a Communist party proxy group to an alleged election interference network.
The group allegedly targeted at least 11 candidates in both the Liberal and Conservative parties whose victory China wanted to secure. Beijing also allegedly placed staffers in certain MPs’ offices to influence policy. …
To his credit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised his concerns about China’s interference in Canada in a face-to-face encounter with Xi Jinping at the recent G20 meeting in Bali. …
He’s to be commended for conveying that Canada will not stand for Chinese interference in Canadian political affairs. But what is the government doing now to hold Chinese individuals and organizations accountable? And what should it do?
Five steps in taking action …

1-18 November
CSIS is ‘increasingly concerned’ about China’s interference in Canada
(Global) Canada’s spy agency is growing “increasingly concerned” about China’s attempts to influence Canadian politics, a senior official told members of Parliament on Tuesday.
That’s because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is “involved and interested in promoting their own national interests” in Canada, Michelle Tessier, the deputy director of operations for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) told the procedure and House affairs committee on Tuesday.
“They are an actor in foreign interference, and we have said that publicly … that we are concerned about the activities regarding threats against the security of Canada, including foreign interference by the Chinese Communist Party,” Tessier told MPs.

17 November
Why Xi Jinping publicly rebuked Justin Trudeau, and what it means for Canada’s relations with China
Trudeau and Xi spoke face to face briefly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday. After the unofficial meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a readout of the conversation noting the topics that were discussed and who raised them. The Chinese president expressed displeasure with the prime minister leaking their conversation to media
(CBC) According to the readout, during the brief discussion between the two leaders — who have been at odds over trade, China’s arrest and detention of two Canadians and Canada’s arrest and detention of a Chinese Huawei executive — Trudeau raised concerns about media reports that China covertly funded 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election.
Xi Jinping’s threatening rebuke of Justin Trudeau was a rare and surprising move by the Chinese president, and highlighted the disregard he has for the Canadian prime minister, according to some experts and former diplomats.
“He certainly wouldn’t speak like that to the U.S. president. So it does suggest that Mr. Xi has a degree of disdain for the prime minister and does not see Canada as an important partner,” said Charles Burton, senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a former diplomat to China. … “We have not seen the president of China engaging in this really quite undiplomatic, rough language with a counterpart leader of another country”
Guy Saint-Jacques, who was Canada’s ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016, said that this was all “preordained,” and that Xi wanted to pass along a clear message to Trudeau as the cameras were rolling.
Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer told Power & Politics that he believes Xi’s threat to Trudeau wasn’t veiled, but “fairly direct” and that there could be economic or diplomatic implications.

14 November
Trudeau left out in the cold as China’s Xi engages in a whirlwind of diplomacy at G20
(Globe & Mail) “Canada is still in the deep freeze,” said Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Relations remain frayed since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver and Beijing’s subsequent jailing of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, she said, despite the release of Ms. Meng from house arrest and the two Canadians from prison.

9-10 November
Canada readies new Indo-Pacific strategy amid tense China ties
(Reuters) – Canada will soon announce a new Indo-Pacific strategy to challenge China on human rights issues while cooperating with the world’s second-biggest economy on climate change and other shared goals, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Wednesday.
Canada’s looming Indo-Pacific strategy warns of China entanglement, boosts India ties
(Globe & Mail) Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly is warning businesses against deepening their ties with China as part of a long-anticipated Indo-Pacific strategy which she says is coming by early December.
Canada’s foreign service will be tasked with training more China experts and placing them in “key embassies” around the world.

2 November
Ottawa seeks to cut China out of Canadian critical mineral industry
By Mia Rabson The Canadian Press
After a national security review, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is ordering three Chinese resource companies to sell their interests in Canadian critical mineral firms.
Champagne’s order comes less than a week after he said Canada would be limiting the involvement of foreign state-owned companies in the industry.
Critical minerals and metals, such as lithium, cadmium, nickel and cobalt, are essential components of everything from wind turbines and electric cars to laptops, solar panels and rechargeable batteries.
Chengze Lithium International Ltd. is required to divest its interests in Lithium Chile Inc., a company headquartered in Calgary with more than a dozen lithium projects underway in Chile.
And Zangge Mining Investment is ordered to sell its investment in Ultra Lithium Inc., a Vancouver-based resource development firm with lithium and gold projects in both Canada and Argentina.

24 September
Canada names Jennifer May as its first female ambassador to China
(Reuters) – Canada on Friday appointed Jennifer May its first female ambassador to China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, taking over a role that has been open since December of last year amid ongoing diplomatic tensions with the Asian economic powerhouse.
May is a veteran diplomat with 30 years’ experience, Trudeau said in a statement. She most recently served as Canada’s ambassador to Brazil, and during her career has worked in the Canadian missions in Beijing and Hong Kong.

13 August
China has encroached on Canada’s critical minerals industry, with almost no obstruction from Ottawa
For the past two decades, China has built up a powerful position in Canada’s critical minerals and mining sector, with little oversight from Ottawa
Niall McGee, Mining reporter
(Globe & Mail) Three years ago, Sinomine Resource Group Co., a Chinese company, quietly bought the Tanco mine in Manitoba. At the time, Tanco was one of the world’s few sources of the critical mineral cesium, a key input in atomic clocks and radiation detectors. The mine had previously produced lithium, a battery metal used in electric cars. …
Mining is one of the most capital-intensive industries on the planet, and so historically it made sense for Canadian miners to turn to China as a source of funding. But in recent years China has emerged as a clear national security threat.
Although Ottawa has made clear that it does not want to be beholden to a hostile foreign power for critical minerals such as lithium, so far there has been little in the way of action from the federal government to prevent that from happening.
Messy headlines have been plentiful this year, after the federal government approved the sale of Canadian lithium development company Neo Lithium Corp. to Chinese state-owned Zijin Mining Group Ltd. The government’s decision not to order an advanced security screening drew severe criticism, culminating in parliamentary hearings that put the Industry Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, on the defensive.

7 July
Despite end of Meng Wanzhou and ‘two Michaels’ crises, chill lingers over Canada-China relations
Ottawa has not named a new ambassador to Beijing since Dominic Barton resigned, while China’s envoy departed Canada in January and apparently is still absent
Experts say a lack of a coherent strategy with well-defined aims is deepening the Canadian government’s China conundrum
(SCMP) On December 6, 2021, Canada’s ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, announced his resignation just months after the surprise resolution of the worst diplomatic crises in the history of Ottawa-Beijing relations.
In a parting statement that seemed an attempt to move relations beyond the difficult period, Barton wrote: “I believe that the relationship between Canada and China is of critical importance to our future … As I leave my role, my successor will be on strong footing to further this relationship.”
But six months on, the sprawling Canadian embassy compound in China’s capital is still waiting for its new boss.
“Whether it’s that the Canadian government has not proposed an ambassador to the Chinese authorities, or whether the Canadian government has proposed an ambassador and the Chinese authorities have not accepted that individual,” it was unclear why the post has been vacant for so long, said Charles Burton, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based think tank.
Cong Peiwu, the Chinese ambassador to Ottawa, went to China for “official business” in January and, as of May, had not returned because of “Covid-related lockdown”, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported, citing China’s diplomatic mission.
In December, Canada joined its Western allies in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics because of suspected human rights abuses in China. But in February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from a non-binding vote in the House of Commons that accused China of committing genocide against Uygurs in Xinjiang province.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly spoke with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in April and discussed “the challenges of recent years, including cases of arbitrary detentions and the importance of frank dialogue”.
In May, China lifted its three-year import ban on Canadian canola seeds. Before the freeze in March 2019, Canada exported around 40 per cent of its canola crop to China.

14 June
As Others ‘Decouple,’ Canada Moves to Mend China Relations
(VoA) At a time when the United States and some of its allies are seeking to reduce their dependence on China for strategic and other goods, Canada is looking to move past an ugly spat that drove relations with Beijing to a historic low.
Less than a year after the resolution of a dispute that saw a senior Huawai executive detained in Vancouver and two Canadians jailed for three years in China, trade between the two countries is setting new records and officials say they are eager to mend the relationship.

10 June
Robert Fife: Dominic Barton tapped to advise Canada on Indo-Pacific strategy
Dominic Barton, Canada’s former ambassador to Beijing who is now chair of Rio Tinto, is part of the new 14-member Indo-Pacific Advisory Committee
(Globe & Mail) Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has recruited an Indo-Pacific advisory committee that includes several pro-China advocates, among them Dominic Barton, Canada’s former ambassador to Beijing.

19-20 May
China will see Canada’s Huawei, ZTE bans as ‘a slap in the face,’ experts warn
(Global) Canada’s decision to ban Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 5G telecommunications network will be a blow to an already tense relationship with China, experts warn. Although it’s not yet clear if China will retaliate beyond strong condemnation of Canada’s decision, experts say the possibility exists that the risk has increased for Canadian travellers and businesses in China. Abigail Bimman looks at what a potential retaliation by Chiana could look like
The decision was also largely expected, even though it took years for the government to act. Canada is the last of the Five Eyes allies — which include the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand — to restrict or ban the Chinese telecom giants over national security concerns.
Repeated delays in a decision by the government led Canadian telecommunications players to ink deals with other technology companies over the last three years, effectively freezing Huawei out of the market in the absence of a formal government decision.
Canada formally bans China’s Huawei, ZTE from 5G networks
The move comes amid deepening global concerns about Beijing’s disregard for international laws and human rights, and eight months after the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from Chinese prisons earlier this fall.

19 May
Mélanie Joly: Canada is working to rekindle relations with Beijing
Andy Blatchford
Foreign minister tells Politico that Canada’s long-waited Indo-Pacific strategy will be released in the “coming weeks”
Canada’s Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly says she’s focused on rebuilding Ottawa’s damaged relations with Beijing, an effort underway eight months after the close of a U.S. extradition case that ignited bilateral tensions.

16 February
Spirit of Trudeau’s Beijing Olympics diplomatic boycott not followed at home
B.C. politicians “participating in the propaganda” with Chinese Communist Party officials, critic says
By Bob Mackin
(BIV) In early December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canadian government would follow allies and not send politicians or diplomats to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, because of “repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government.”
But Liberal MPs and other politicians in Metro Vancouver are continuing to engage with officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government on Canadian soil. Two Richmond politicians even expressed support for the Games and told a state-affiliated TV outlet that politics and sport should not mix.

4 February
Diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics won’t sever Canada-China relations
Canada will continue to engage with China, but with an “eyes-wide-open” approach after its largely symbolic diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics.
by Darren Touch
(Policy Options) The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics come at a perilous time in Sino relations with much of the western world. Canada is represented only by its athletes. Absent is the usual throng of official government representation as Canada has joined the diplomatic boycott with many other countries including the United States, Australia and Britain.
The Winter Games – and the Paralympics, set to start in March – represent an exciting time for Canada to showcase its natural competitive advantage as a northern country – a gold-standard competitor. However, the cloud of geopolitics hangs over the Olympics, on now until Feb. 20. The usual excitement will be challenged by  the downward spiral of Canada-China relations, growing human rights concerns in Xinjiang against the Uyghur ethnic minority, and China’s increasingly aggressive and assertive behaviours toward Hong Kong, Taiwan and in the South China Sea.
Being largely symbolic, the diplomatic boycott is unlikely to change Beijing’s stance on issues of human rights in Xinjiang or the dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong – which Beijing regards as a matter of internal affairs and, as such, free from foreign interference. The challenge for Canada and many other Western countries will be to determine how they manage a long-term relationship with China that protects and advances their interests and values.

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