Canada – China 2022

Written by  //  March 10, 2023  //  Canada, Foreign Policy  //  Comments Off on Canada – China 2022

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

In his most recent newsletter, Colin Robertson features his review of ‘Canada and China’: The Bilateral Journey, from Trudeau to Trudeau by B. Michael Frolic.
He reminds his readers of then-Global Affairs Minister Marc Garneau’s statement following the release of the Two Michaels: when it comes to normalizing relations Canada’s “eyes are wide open” and the government is now following a four-fold approach to China: “coexist,” “compete,” “co-operate,” and “challenge.”

China accuses Canada of ‘sensationalizing’ and smearing reputation over alleged secret police stations
‘China has been… strictly abiding by international law and respecting all countries’ judicial sovereignty’

Andrew Coyne: The Prime Minister could clear up the most important questions about China’s interference in our elections – simply by answering them
Wednesday was a gruesome day for the Prime Minister. It began with a report by Global News citing two high-level memos to the Prime Minister’s Office warning, in highly specific terms, not just about foreign interference in our elections generally, but about infiltration and funding of Liberal campaigns by the government of China.
The first, a “Special Report” prepared by the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat within the Privy Council Office – which reports directly to the Prime Minister – warned that Chinese officials had passed money via intermediaries to a clandestine network of 11 candidates in the 2019 election.
… The second was an unredacted version of a 2019 report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), the same all-party committee the Prime Minister recently tasked with investigating matters arising from reports by Global News and The Globe and Mail.
The report says, inter alia, that “foreign states clandestinely direct contributions to and support for the campaigns and political parties of preferred candidates,” and that “targeting often begins during the nomination process.” According to Global News, it cites several examples of interference by China.

9 March
The Liberal government is in serious crisis mode on Chinese interference
Sam Routley, PhD Student, Political Science, Western University
(The Conversation) A series of leaked documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) have revealed the ways in which the Chinese government has attempted to tamper with Canadian elections. The story is a developing one, and many precise details remain unclear. It’s still to be determined, for example, where the leaks came from, why the information was leaked and whether it’s representative of the full scope of intelligence.
The Liberals have a lot to lose from a continuing public focus on the topic.
The allegations not only raise questions about the integrity of Canadian democracy itself, but also the complicity of the government in not properly addressing it — and the appearance, to put it more precisely, that the Liberals deliberately underplayed, denied or buried allegations of interference because they benefited from it.
Available information shows that both the prime minister and his staff were briefed, on multiple occasions, about indications of Chinese interference as it was happening in both the 2019 and 2021 elections. (emphasis added)
NB: In last week’s interview with Catherine Cullen former foreign affairs minister Marc Garneau says he’s concerned about preserving the integrity of Canada’s electoral process — though he says he was never briefed about allegations of Chinese interference in the 2021 election. (emphasis added)

RCMP investigating alleged Chinese government police stations in Quebec
(CBC) … Both centres have been open for decades, and have served as resource centres for Chinese and Asian communities. … In a statement, a spokesperson for the RCMP said investigators are taking steps to “detect and disrupt these criminal activities supported by a foreign state that could also threaten the safety of people living in Canada.”
Difficult to expel Chinese diplomats already in Canada without evidence of foreign interference, says Joly
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly told MPs Thursday while she denied a visa to a suspected Chinese political operative last fall it is harder to expel Beijing’s diplomats already in Canada without clear evidence of their foreign interference.
Ms. Joly said Ottawa also has to weigh the risk of a tit-for-tat reaction from Beijing that could harm Canada’s ability to have “eyes and ears” on the ground in China

7 March
Trudeau orders probe into reports Beijing interfered in Canada’s elections
(Axios) Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he’ll appoint an independent special rapporteur to investigate allegations of a recent election interference campaign by China’s ruling Communist Party.
Why it matters: Trudeau has faced repeated calls to act after media reports emerged last month alleging that documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) showed a Beijing-backed drive to influence the outcome of Canada’s federal elections in 2019 and 2021.
He had previously defended his government’s handling of foreign interference in elections. Last week, he called a Globe and Mail report that alleged the CSIS urged him to drop a candidate who’s now a member of Parliament in his ruling Liberal Party due to his ties to Beijing “false.”

Trudeau probes Chinese meddling
Well, this is awkward. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has appointed an independent investigator to assess allegations that the Chinese government interfered in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 elections … to help his party win. The reports are sketchy so far, and the interference was not so large that Beijing affected the electoral results. Still, Trudeau is in a tight spot. A fully transparent investigation could reveal details that are politically toxic to his government – particularly amid allegations that his office ignored reports of interference in 2019. But any evidence of soft-pedaling the probe could backfire in a similar way. For now, his government is projecting an air of total transparency in dealing with the story, but opposition leaders have already alleged a cover-up and are calling for a public hearing. Canada is hardly the only country concerned about alleged election meddling by China. Intelligence services in the US and Australia have voiced similar concerns, raising questions about how safe future elections will be.
Canada’s Trudeau launches China election meddling probes
(BBC) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that an independent special rapporteur will probe alleged Chinese interference in their recent elections.
The appointed investigator will review classified reports about the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and will make recommendations for future contests.

28 February
Federal government banning social media platform TikTok from government phones
Chief information officer made the decision citing security concerns
The federal government is removing and blocking the video-sharing platform TikTok from all federal government devices, citing security reasons.
In an email sent to Global Affairs employees Monday, department officials said the Chief Information Officer of Canada made the decision following a review. The review found that TikTok’s data collection methods could lead to cyber attacks, the email said.
Andrew Coyne: CSIS is worried about China interfering in our elections, even if the government isn’t
… That people at CSIS have been willing to leak it to the media, even at the risk of lengthy prison terms, suggests they are extremely concerned about it. At the least, they may be frustrated that the Trudeau government has been so uninterested in pursuing the matter. They may even have begun to wonder why.
The Liberals’ longstanding coziness with China is a matter of public record: the baffling decisions on takeovers of Canadian companies with sensitive security implications; the endless dithering over whether to allow Huawei to supply equipment to Canada’s 5G telephone networks; the appointments of Beijing cheerleaders John McCallum and Dominic Barton as ambassadors to China.
But these are public policy decisions, for which the government can be held to account. Even the revelation that China has targeted the Prime Minister, in particular, with an aggressive influence campaign – the cash-for-access fundraisers with Chinese billionaires, the hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed to Mr. Trudeau’s family foundation – does not necessarily prove anything.
The Prime Minister, after all, might have adopted the same stance toward China even without such inducements. China’s preference for the Liberals may likewise have a perfectly innocent, i.e. appalling, explanation: that the Liberals are soft on China’s “basic dictatorship.”
Foreign interference did not affect outcome of 2021 election, report says
While the results of the 2021 election and its predecessor in 2019 were not altered by foreign interference, the report calls for national-security agencies to develop a program of unclassified briefings to boost the awareness that members of Parliament and senators have about foreign interference.
17 February
CSIS documents reveal Chinese strategy to influence Canada’s 2021 election
China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 federal election campaign as Chinese diplomats and their proxies backed the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals – but only to another minority government – and worked to defeat Conservative politicians considered to be unfriendly to Beijing.
The full extent of the Chinese interference operation is laid bare in both secret and top-secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents viewed by The Globe and Mail that cover the period before and after the September, 2021, election that returned the Liberals to office.

7 February
‘Canada and China’: The Bilateral Journey, from Trudeau to Trudeau
Colin Robertson reviews Canada and China: A Fifty-Year Journey
(Policy) The first step in B. Michael Frolic’s Canada and China: A Fifty-Year Journey begins with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s recognition of China in 1970 — a diplomatic watershed that predated the Nixon-Kissinger visit to China by more than a year and full US normalization by nine years. The book traces the thousand miles from the senior Trudeau’s breakthrough to Justin Trudeau’s relations with a much different China 50 years later.
… In his final chapter, “Resetting Relations”, Frolic observes that “understanding China is an elusive concept.” He concludes that “In the future, Canada’s relations with China will be pragmatic and pedestrian: middle power to big power, democracy to one-party state, without any illusions that they will be particularly special.” It’s a fair assessment.
The prime ministers who understood China the best are Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien. They each invested their personal time and effort into the relationship. Of the three, Pierre Trudeau captured the dilemma best when he told Frolic:
“I never thought it would be easy to work with China. It is an authoritarian state. But after I had been there, I realized China had to become part of the rest of the world, and we needed to know much more about it.”
Pierre Trudeau was right. And Frolic’s Canada and China is a good place to start learning more about China.


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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