Chinese-Canadian Tories urge O’Toole to resign, saying tough-on-China platform alienated voters

One perspective within the Chinese Canadian community, largely aligned with Beijing:

A group representing Conservatives of Chinese descent is urging Erin O’Toole to resign as federal leader, charging that his call for a tougher approach to China alienated Chinese-Canadian voters and cost the party three seats in last month’s election.

The Chinese Canadian Conservative Association is advocating a less-confrontational stance toward Beijing, saying immigrants from the Mainland don’t like the Communist Party but still feel affection for China as a nation.

Source: Chinese-Canadian Tories urge O’Toole to resign, saying tough-on-China platform alienated voters

The link between image and influence: why Canada needs cultural diplomacy

It was one of the more short-sighted decisions of the previous government, more ideological given the small funding provided:

A decade ago John Baird, then Canada’s foreign minister, withdrew the funding for the Canadian Studies Overseas program, then in its 38th year. The reason: it was part of a government-wide squeeze to balance the budget in advance of an election—wherein so called expendable programs were cut. The shock was felt around the world by foreign students, universities, and by the many Canadian diplomatic missions which had benefitted from the link with Canadian studies.

How could this have happened? How could a program be cancelled that provided seed money to over 7,000 international scholars to teach about Canada so that foreign publics, media, and decision makers better understood what modern Canada was about and one that generated impressive financial returns to Canada? And the savings? At the time the program was cut, the cost to the federal treasury was about $5.5-million—peanuts in the context of a federal budget, especially for a program that was regarded as one of Foreign Affairs’ most cost effective small scale programs. And cost effective because the greater part of the financial burden was borne by foreign universities.

How Canada and Canadians are seen from abroad is more than a casual question. A thorough answer embraces our gross national product, our exports, the richness of our scientific and medical research, our commitment to reconciliation with our Indigenous peoples, our governance, the flow of students, immigrants, and much else. These perceptions help define our sense of who we are.

Most developed countries have long recognized that leaving these impressions to conventional media interaction was leaving too much of their well-being to chance. Seventy years ago, the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences (also known as the Massey Commission) characterized our cultural landscape as “bleak,” accepted that the image we projected abroad was critically important for the country, and recommended that the care and improvement of that image be a central function of our foreign policy.

Massey ignited the domestic cultural scene, producing an explosion of the arts and of institutions (like the Canada Council for the Arts and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) that promoted them. Internationally, there were stunning successes and at home there were efforts to erect a “third pillar of foreign policy” comprising arts and science, but there was no sustained pressure to ensure that the new Canadian vitality was understood abroad. Meanwhile our competitors shot past us and continue to do so.

Focusing on this dilemma, in 1994 a Special Joint Committee of Parliament disclosed the annual per capita expenditures on cultural diplomacy (including international education) of four of our major competitors and ourselves: France—$26.50; Germany—$18.49, United Kingdom—$13.37; Japan—$12.60; and Canada—$3.08.

Given the scale of our foreign operations, this may appear to be a mini-crisis. However, it raises a fundamental question about whether we understand the relevance of cultural diplomacy and the consequences of our failure to invest in it. In the case of Canadian Studies, our neglect threatens an invaluable program. Of 28 national associations, only 17 are still more or less operational. Numbers, academic programs and academic outreach are in steep decline. Money for research grants came largely from Ottawa and the absence of that funding has meant that it is almost impossible to replace departing faculty.

Canadians deeply engaged in our cultural trajectory have been appalled. Advancing Canada Coalition, a national campaign to restore funding and update the program is led by Nik Nanos. Included in the campaign’s distinguished leadership team are Margaret Atwood, Daniel Beland, Robert Bothwell, Progressive Senator Patricia Bovey, Independent Senator Peter Boehm, former prime minister Joe Clark, John English, Louise Fréchette, Lawrence Hill, Jane Urquhart, Munroe Eagles, and Alain G. Gagnon.

For too long this has been a bad news story and few observers who have followed the saga over the years would disagree. Certainly not the Senate, whose Foreign Affairs Committee deplored Canada’s lack of interest in its own culture, concluding in its 2019 study that “cultural diplomacy should be a pillar of Canada’s foreign policy,” and urging unanimously that Global Affairs Canada “support the creation of a modernized Canadian Studies program that would contribute to knowledge about Canada in the world”—along with other basic components of cultural diplomacy.

The opportunity for change recommended by the Senate committee lies just ahead—in the budget, now in preparation for the new Parliament.

John Graham is a former Canadian diplomat, including as High Commissioner to Guyana, minister at the Canadian High Commission in the United Kingdom, Director General of the Caribbean and Central America, and Ambassador to Venezuela. 

Source: The link between image and influence: why Canada needs cultural diplomacy

Chris Alexander: China Against the Rule of Law

More on Senators Woo, Harder and Boehm. Again, given the release of the two Michaels, time for them to take a tougher line on Chinese government actions such as extensive arbitrary detention, crushing democracy in Hong Kong, and the ongoing repression of Uighurs:

On the same day Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor arrived home, the Honourable Yuen Pau Woo, an independent senator appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016, tweeted an invitation to Canadians to savour the happy moment. He also congratulated Canada’s ambassador Dominic Barton, and suggested there was “an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned.”

Without offering any didactic points of his own, the honourable senator provided a link to an opinion piece from the Toronto Star whose core message was that “the United States, assisted by Canada, took Meng hostage in the first place as part of its trade-and-technology war with China (…).” “Should Ottawa have arrested Meng in the first place?” asked author Wenran Jiang, an advisory board member of the Toronto-based Institute for Peace & Diplomacy. “Why did this final package deal take so long if a ‘hostage exchange’ is the result?” 

This senator’s choice of lessons was unsurprising. In June of this year, he was instrumental in defeating a Senate motion to recognize China’s genocide against the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims — contradicting the elected House of Commons, which passed a similar measure in February by a vote of 266 to zero. Senator Woo then side-stepped discussion of a proposed boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, arguing politics should not influence sporting events. Again, this went against a unanimous motion of Canada’s House of Commons on February 22, 2021 calling “upon the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympic Games” in light of the continuing genocide against Uighurs and others.

Yuen Pau Woo was joined in these arguments by senators Peter Boehm and Peter Harder, both seasoned diplomats, who also urged Canada to suspend its judgement with regard to China’s persecution of the Uighurs. This includes the use of concentration camps and forced labour, as well as the repression of language, culture and religion. These are all blatant acts committed with the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” as the 1951 Genocide Convention defines this “odious scourge.”

Throughout this unfortunate saga, Beijing has had a Greek chorus of supporters across Canada — mostly from people with well-remunerated corporate or political backgrounds — for the preposterous notion of a “prisoner exchange” that would get relations with China back to “normal.”

In the end, the Senate’s genocide motion failed by a vote of 29 in favour to 33 opposed, with 13 abstentions. China’s Foreign Ministry praised Woo, Boehm and Harder as “people of vision” who had seen through the “despicable schemes of a few anti-China forces.” The “clumsy trick of attacking China for selfish political gains” and “the hype of ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is unpopular and doomed to fail,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson crowed.

Had Woo, a former president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and the “two Peters,” both former deputy ministers of foreign affairs, voted in favour, the Senate’s genocide motion would have passed. Instead all three chose, on an issue directly threatening the identity and lives of millions, to take the position of the Communist Party of China over one unanimously endorsed by Canada’s elected House of Commons — all in the empty hope of getting back to “normal” with Beijing.

The truth is that “normal” in the People’s Republic of China, at least since 1959, has never included the rule of law. From China’s ferocious and brutal invasion of Tibet that same year, through the murderous Great Leap Forward ending in 1962, to the decade-long Cultural Revolution up to Mao’s death in 1976 (and beyond), China has been a legal void. Serious judicial reforms never featured in Deng Xiaoping’s economic relaunch. On the contrary, basic rights were decimated, as Tibetan, Mongolian, Uighur and other refugees attest.

According to Freedom House, the current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping’s relentless push for all-encompassing surveillance and censorship has made China the worst environment in the world for internet freedomfor the seventh year running. Compliance with such global gag orders is enforced by the CCP’s Orwellian digital panopticon, the notorious United Front Work Department, which seeks to browbeat, buy, corrupt, blackmail, extort or otherwise leverage people and firms with connections to China in support of Xi’s agenda.

Thanks to United Front subterfuge, some prominent Canadians still take China’s side, even as Beijing’s favourability score in Canadian public opinion plummeted to 14 per cent, mirroring a worldwide nosedive for China’s image driven by the two Michaels’ ordeal and Beijing’s “wolf warrior” belligerence.

Canada has a decidedly mixed record of confronting outrages by Beijing’s Communist rulers. On the one hand, we fought in Korea. But on the other hand, Norman Bethune and Pierre Trudeau remain bywords for indifference to the brutality of Chinese Communists under Mao.

Self-indulgent aloofness has cost us. Huawei’s rise was reportedly fuelled by massive theft of intellectual property from Nortel, once the darling of Canada’s tech industry. Canadians were among the first to be disenfranchised by the demise of democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, China’s merchandise exports to Canada remain nearly triple what we export to them, even as 115 Canadians languish in Chinese jails, including Uighur activist Huseyin Celil and four others who are on death row

Today’s China under Xi uses strong-arm tactics straight out of Soviet Cold War playbooks. From Cambodia to the Czech Republic, it is corrupting democratic politicsand tilting cyber-space to boost United Front agitprop. (Though ironically, China’s level of global ambition is rising just as its growth path starts to look unsustainable.)

The Meng Wanzhou saga should remind us that the rule of law, which China lacks, remains a crucial “distinction with a difference” between us. In a tweet back in April, Senator Woo urged Canada and China to “recognize the legitimacy of each other’s judicial system.” Yet of eight principles constituting the rule of law identified by a former Lord Chief Justice of the United Kingdom, China today fulfills barely two.

Despite all the speculation about political interference and “diplomatic triangulation,” it was Canada’s rule of law that ultimately prevailed in the cases of Meng Wanzhou, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. The deferred prosecution agreement Meng ultimately accepted had been on the table for years: she reportedly elected to take it when her legal team learned the B.C. court was likely to make a ruling in October clearing the way for her extradition.

Rather than face a full U.S. trial, Meng exercised an option that had been available since early 2019. This leaves Meng free, but Huawei still in legal jeopardy. Meanwhile, the costs to China’s reputation worldwide and Huawei’s global business have been asymmetrical, astronomical and devastating. Any illusions about progress towards independent Chinese justice institutions have been shattered, as the reality of genocide and repression across China come into ever sharper focus.

Democratic politics glories in disagreement. But democratic politicians that parrot the propaganda of dictators do unnecessary discredit to our institutions. Meng Wanzhou enjoyed every benefit of the rule of law in confessing to having misled U.S. authorities about Huawei’s attempts to skirt Iran-related sanctions. The two Michaels did not.

Canada’s answer to their ordeal should be to relocate or boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics: the ghastly legacy of Hitler’s 1936 horror show requires that states committing genocide never host Olympic Games.

This is the least we can do for repressed Uighur Muslims, Tibetans, Mongolians and others still facing erasure by genocide, as well as Hong King’s brave democratic activists, many of whom who are now in jail or in exile. These persecuted people revere the rule of law in Canada as the real hero in this drama. Indeed, in the face of China’s drum roll of threats, our institutions held up remarkably well, despite the best efforts of a number of prominent Canadians to undermine them.

Our principled commitment to upholding the rule of law in China starts now — by fulfilling the commitment our democratically-elected representatives made to ensure Olympic Games are not held in a country now perpetrating genocide.

Chris Alexander was Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (2013-15) and Parliamentary Secretary for National Defence (2011-13). He served for 12 years in Canadian embassies in Russia and Afghanistan, wrote The Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace (2011) and recently released Ending Pakistan’s Proxy War in Afghanistan. He is a Distinguished Fellow for the Canadian International Council.

Source: https://email.mg1.substack.com/c/eJxVUk2P4jAM_TX01iof_aCHHGany0yZLWg1wA5cqjRJaSAkVZtSyq_fDOxlpTi2nu1nyc-MWnE03URa01vv-yvt1AqixdgrYa3ovKEXXSk5gSCBaQQSjxOQIJZUnuzLuhPiQqUiXjtUSjJqpdHf1QkAGHkNiWGF4phDkEY0SVg6D2PG0TyCUYzqOU-fM-nApdBMEKPVVLZUck-Rxtq2n-GXGVq4ZxuhpBZBP1S9pewcMHNxcOuMNZ3sfarEjWouOp81UlOfHqnUvfVd4wwvrDkLPcOZmJaQod30hdQ5P5lbkbHberMdV9Mo2Vt654u0Pbzm8SrLXS4fi_vPPr-ohjus2Ozvxb2ARbYf15-jpF-ru-OQ7H0nf23YWGTFlEvHg3fygX_zvcLp8Gdx4m_qWsllGmz9KL9uPny2iq757-vwsa7BarecXn40Z4pND9X7jR62m8zuPUkQQBACEEKEAYgDFIQpCgGoBWJ0XoEYBSkzp7kZq1kILkf433q8jriFdGJUx07WtbSNK5JMmYE_0k6y0vnLoKWdSqFppQQnthuEZ58H8dC2PAotOncovKSWwBhjHIEYAhc91XNyhwgCBDD03HxuXJcm_wT7C6NFzsw

China’s ‘mouthpiece’: Senator faces online backlash, calls to resign after 2 Michaels, Meng tweet

Hopefully, after the release of the Michaels, senators can stop defeating such motions and take a more principled stand against these human rights abuses and genocidal policies:

Last June, 33 Canadian senators voted to defeat a motion decrying China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims as a genocide.

While they all faced criticism from some quarters, only one – Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, leader of the Independent Senators Group – seems to have been singled out as an alleged stooge of China’s communist regime, told to resign and “go home.”

Last week, Woo got a similar reaction when he tweeted about the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the two Canadians arbitrarily detained by China for nearly three years in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the behest of the United States.

Woo tweeted that it was a “happy day” for the families of the Canadian men who became known around the world as the “two Michaels” and for Meng, who was simultaneously released and allowed to return to China. He urged Canadians to ponder the lessons learned from the affair.

He attached a link to an op-ed published in the Toronto Star that cited a former U.S. ambassador, Chas Freeman, saying that the “U.S., assisted by Canada, took Meng hostage in the first place as part of its trade-and-technology war with China.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1441859293012107267&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fglobalnews.ca%2Fnews%2F8239522%2Fsenator-yuen-pau-woo-twitter-backlash%2F&sessionId=9cf2c0f941ed20ab9b0ab51ba030b1947357d4fe&siteScreenName=globalnews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=fcb1942%3A1632982954711&width=500px

That earned Woo a scathing rebuke from Chris Alexander, a former diplomat and one-time immigration minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

“By claiming Meng was ‘taken hostage’ by Canada, @yuenpauwoo has violated his oath as a Canadian senator and should resign,” Alexander tweeted.

“Mouthpieces for foreign propaganda … should have no place in Canada’s Parliament,” he added.

Alexander’s tweet was shared by others who variously referred to Woo as “pond scum” and a “Chinese commie f—” who should be “sent back to China along with Meng.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1442119591782666240&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fglobalnews.ca%2Fnews%2F8239522%2Fsenator-yuen-pau-woo-twitter-backlash%2F&sessionId=9cf2c0f941ed20ab9b0ab51ba030b1947357d4fe&siteScreenName=globalnews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=fcb1942%3A1632982954711&width=500px

China has maintained from the outset that Meng’s arrest was politically motivated. Canada and the U.S. have strenuously denied it but plenty of American and Canadian experts nevertheless share Freeman’s view that she was a political bargaining chip.

That view was fuelled by former U.S. president Donald Trump, who was attempting to negotiate a trade deal with China at the time of Meng’s arrest and who said he’d intervene in her extradition case “if I think it’s good for what will be the largest trade deal ever made.”

John Manley, a former Liberal deputy prime minister and Canadian foreign affairs minister, said at the time that Trump’s comments had “given Ms. Meng’s lawyers quite a good reason to go to the court and say, ‘This is not an extradition matter. This is actually leverage in a trade dispute and it’s got nothing to do with Canada.”’

Woo notes that Manley and others who have echoed similar views have not been denounced as mouthpieces for China.

That’s a specific kind of opprobrium, he believes, meant to stigmatize people of Chinese descent and he’s worried about where the rising tide of anti-Asian sentiment in Canada could lead.

“I am Exhibit A, if you will, only because I have a bit of public profile,” Woo said in an interview.

“But there are many others in the community who do not have my protections and are genuinely fearful of the increasing typecasting and stigmatization that’s going on.”

Woo was actually born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore before coming to Canada at age 16.

He has been accused of being unabashedly “Beijing friendly,” a mouthpiece and lobbyist for the Communist Party of China, even though he points out he’s “three generations removed from the mainland (China).”

He fears recent immigrants from China, who still have connections to family there, are considered even more suspect and are less able to defend themselves.

Woo points to reports suggesting that Chinese Canadians might have been influenced by or acting on the behest of China when they voted in last month’s federal election, resulting in the defeat of several Conservative incumbents who had advocated a hardline stance against Beijing.

“This is really a slanderous and dangerous way of thinking because it makes assumptions about Chinese Canadians ? who have views that may not be mainstream (and) it presumes that they are not able to think for themselves,” he said.

“The accusation that they are foreign agents or stooges of the Chinese government is a very, very serious allegation and, of course, hearkens back to the days of McCarthyism when careers were ruined and lives were lost and we have to be very careful not to go back to that place.”

One of those defeated Conservative MPs, Kenny Chiu, who lost his B.C. riding to a Liberal in the Sept. 20 election, told The Canadian Press that during the campaign there were WeChat posts he says contained false information about the Conservatives and allegations a private member’s bill he tabled would discriminate against Chinese Canadians. But he also said his party could have done a better job speaking directly to members of that community.

When Woo spoke against the motion labelling China’s treatment of Uyghurs a genocide last June, he argued that Canada, given its history of forcing Indigenous children to attend residential schools, should not try to lecture China from a position of moral superiority on human rights.

Rather, he said, Canada should appeal to its Chinese “friends” not to make the same morally wrong and societally damaging mistake of trying to repress and forcibly assimilate a minority group.

Sen. Peter Harder, the former government representative in the Senate who now sits with the Progressive Senate Group, made a similar argument.

Sen. Peter Boehm, a former senior Global Affairs bureaucrat and Sherpa for prime ministers at G7 summits, argued that the motion’s “few paragraphs of what passes for megaphone diplomacy” would accomplish nothing, other than to anger China and possibly hurt attempts to win the release of Kovrig and Spavor.

Boehm, a member of the Independent Senators Group, said in an interview that both he and Harder got “a few brickbats” for their speeches, including from his former colleague, Alexander.

Alexander could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

“What I was getting was ‘You’re an experienced diplomat, you should know better, shame on you.’ That was basically what I was getting from Chris Alexander and from others who consider themselves experts,” Boehm said.

But unlike Woo, he said: “No one has tweeted or commented that I should go back to China.”

Boehm agrees with Woo that “there’s a correlation here with anti-Asian racism on the rise in Canada and some of this is permeating into the utterances or what various Canadians who should know better are putting on their social media feeds.

“I think it’s unfair and demeaning.”

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/8239522/senator-yuen-pau-woo-twitter-backlash/?utm_campaign=David%20Akin%27s%20🇨🇦%20Roundup&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

Saint-Jacques: After the two Michaels’ release, Canada must work with allies to challenge China’s bullying tactics

Sound commentary:

The return of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to Canada should be celebrated as they were unfortunate pawns in the geopolitical contest between China and the United States. Let’s hope that they can get back to a normal life quickly ‒ and that Canada was not forced to agree to egregious demands from China to guarantee their release.

As we take stock of this sad episode, we have to look at our China policy from the perspectives of security, trade and co-operation. The starting point should be the defence and protection of our values and interests. As trust has been broken, future Canadian engagement with China will have to be a lot more selective to areas that serve our interest, and be implemented in a consistent manner.

Canada needs to recover its voice. Ottawa must call China into question when it transgresses obligations undertaken through international treaties. This includes problems such as the trampling of human rights in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, the militarization of the South China Sea, the undue pressure on Taiwan and Beijing’s refusal to collaborate with the World Health Organization to investigate the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the case of Meng Wanzhou, it is not impossible that we will be asked again to arrest a prominent Chinese citizen at the request of a foreign country with which we have an extradition treaty ‒ or that we will have to arrest someone here who is engaging in espionage or interference activities. We have to put mechanisms in place to prevent future hostage taking. One way would be for Canada to develop criteria that would trigger common responses, including sanctions, by countries that have signed the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. All these countries have realized that what happened to the Michaels was pure hostage diplomacy and that it could happen to their citizens, too.

Canada should also ban Huawei from its 5G development to ensure that the company’s equipment cannot be used for espionage and to align with the United States. It must also become a lot more active to prevent Chinese interference in domestic affairs, including cyber espionage. A good starting point would be to look at the four foreign interference laws adopted by Australia.

To prevent China from using trade to punish opponents, Canada should impress on Washington that it needs to make the World Trade Organization functional again by allowing arbiters to be appointed to panels. Countries could then launch actions against China when it imposes punitive sanctions(this would apply to other countries that enact these measures as well). Canada could suggest an alliance to Australia and U.S. (to start), whereby they agree not to increase exports to China beyond their historical share of a given product if one of them is victim of such sanctions. Trade data for the first six months of 2021 show that our exports to China have increased by 23 per cent on a year-to-year basis. This gives us more leeway to take strong measures as China will always need our agri-food products, iron and copper.

There are, of course, areas where it is in our interest to pursue co-operation with China. For example, on the environment, Canada already has a reputable record of providing assistance. This can facilitate business opportunities for Canada to provide China with clean technologies, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen to help reduce its coal emissions. On public health and pandemics, Canada should continue to collaborate with China ‒ especially to ensure it doesn’t cut corners. There’s also people-to-people exchanges: Chinese people like to travel to Canada for tourism and appreciate Canadian education for their children. We also have our own homework to do: Let’s increase Canadian literacy on China by devoting more resources to Mandarin training and centres studying the country’s politics, economics and culture.

But demonstrating strength, first and foremost, is key. To be successful, this new engagement strategy will have to be implemented in close collaboration with like-minded countries. An impending test to do so will be at Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics. Let’s propose that delegations to the opening ceremony be limited, and that foreign leaders not attend. The more we speak with one voice and the more China will be forced to stop its bullying tactics.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-after-the-two-michaels-release-canada-must-work-with-allies-to/

Islamic Terrorists or Chinese Dissidents? U.S. Grapples with Uyghur Dilemma

Header over-emphasizes terrorist/extremist angle and underplays, unlike article, human rights and cultural genocide angle:

President Joe Biden and his administration are grappling with a new foreign policy dilemma: how to deal with Uyghur separatists seeking to take on the People’s Republic of China and establish an independent Islamic state in the northwestern Xinjiang region at a time when Washington is also increasing pressure on Beijing.

The U.S. stance for the last two decades since the “war on terror” was declared after 9/11 has been to view groups such as Uyghurs factions as enemy actors, due to their reported links to Al-Qaeda. One such organization, a Uyghur separatist group known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), was added to the Terrorist Exclusion List, a Patriot Act measure designed to disallow suspected militant group members from entering the United States.

Over the course of the past 20 years, however, Washington’s foreign policy priorities have shifted dramatically, a change marked most notably by Biden’s military exit from Afghanistan. That exit was set in motion by Donald Trump, whose focus throughout his tenure in office was on another national foe, China.

In addition to confronting Beijing on trade, political unrest in Hong Kong and tensions over Taiwan, the Trump administration endorsed allegations that China was conducting a “genocide” in Xinjiang, the northwestern province that is home to the Uyghurs. The offenses were said to have occurred as part of China’s extensive counterterrorism measures in the region that included sprawling detainment camps, known officially as vocational education and training centers, in which more than one million people are believed by international critics to have been detained.

Chinese officials have strongly rejected these allegations, arguing that the facilities are a crucial part of the Communist nation’s national security strategy, Beijing’s own “war on terror.” Xinjiang was the site of a deadly Uyghur insurgency that began in the 1990s in the form of bombings, stabbings and vehicle rammings that killed scores of authorities and civilians alike.

The widening U.S.-China divergence on the narrative took a dramatic turn just days after the U.S. presidential election last November, when the Trump administration removed ETIM from the Terrorist Exclusion List, citing a lack of activity, even as Uyghur fighters set up camp in Afghanistan and Syria.

The Biden administration continues to support that stance.

“ETIM was removed from the list because, for more than a decade, there has been no credible evidence that ETIM continues to exist as the same organization that was conducting terrorist attacks in Syria at the time of their designation,” a State Department spokesperson told Newsweek.

As recently as February 2018, however, the Pentagon was conducting airstrikes against targets said to be linked to ETIM in Afghanistan.

But the State Department now sees it as a separate group altogether, one which is behind the active Uyghur insurgency in two conflict-ridden countries.

“Uyghur terrorists fighting in Syria and Afghanistan are members of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP),” the State Department spokesperson said, “a separate organization that China and others have incorrectly identified as ETIM.”

Yet the spokesperson noted that the two groups have nearly identical goals.

“TIP is an organization allied with the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qa’ida elements operating in Syria, and the group seeks to establish an independent Uyghur state, East Turkistan, in the area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China,” the State Department spokesperson said.

Asked by Newsweek whether the Biden administration planned to brand the still-active Turkistan Islamic Party as a candidate for the Terrorist Exclusion List or the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, the spokesperson declined to comment as a matter of protocol.

“The United States does not comment on deliberations related to our terrorist designation process,” the State Department spokesperson said.

One Man’s Terrorist, Another Man’s Freedom Fighter

The Turkestan Islamic Party itself has spurned the “terrorist” label that officials in Washington, Beijing and other governments have ascribed to it.

“We, on the part of the group, have not posed any threat to any person, group, state or people,” a spokesperson for the Turkestan Islamic Party’s political office told Newsweek, “and even the Chinese people only see good from us, because we do not oppress the people like the Chinese government.”

The spokesperson said that the group’s activities were limited to the Chinese state itself due to its controversial policies in Xinjiang.

“Even in the future, we do not have any idea for the likes of targeting, kidnapping, threatening or [doing] anything bad against an innocent person or country,” the Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson said, “and we do not have a problem with any person or country other than the unjust Chinese government.”

The spokesperson argued that any other illicit activities may be carried out by Chinese spy agencies in order to blame the Turkestan Islamic Party.

“Anything that happened or happens, this is not from our side, but will be from the unjust Chinese intelligence,” the Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson added, “because we are not terrorists who target innocent people like the Chinese government [does].”

At the same time, the group does not rule out waging armed struggle as a means to achieve its political aims.

“The Chinese government should leave the land of East Turkestan by the peaceful path,” the spokesperson said. “If they choose the path of war without leaving peacefully, then we have the right to choose all kinds of paths in order to restore our homeland.”

The region known to Uyghur separatist proponents as East Turkestan comprises around 25 million people living across a span of some 700,000 miles of China’s Xinjiang and parts of neighboring Gansu and Qinghai provinces — roughly the size of France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ireland combined.

The area came under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party with the rest of the mainland as Mao Zedong’s victorious People’s Liberation Army drove the nationalist Republic of China forces to exile in Taiwan in 1949.

At the time, the Soviet Union, the world’s top communist power, backed the East Turkestan separatists as a check against Chinese power.

The People’s Republic of China today recognizes some 56 ethnic communities, including the majority Han population, the world’s largest ethnic group, which has increasingly expanded throughout the nation.

This migration is rooted in economic motives as China rapidly developed in recent decades, but those supportive of the separatist East Turkestan cause saw a state-sponsored plot to actively suppress Uyghur culture.

“East Turkestan is the land of the Uyghurs,” the Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson said. “After the Chinese government occupied our homeland by force, they forced us to leave our homeland because of their oppression against us. The whole world knows that East Turkestan has always been the land of the Uyghurs.”

Source: Islamic Terrorists or Chinese Dissidents? U.S. Grapples with Uyghur Dilemma

A broadcast boycott is the last chance to mount serious resistance against the Beijing Olympic Games

Another option:

On Sept. 7, a group of 200 human rights groups wrote to Olympic broadcasters, including the CBC and NBC, asking them to cancel their coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Games and refrain from “sport washing” China’s lengthy list of human rights abuses

In doing so, the human rights groups aim to hit the International Olympic Committee (IOC) where it hurts most — its bank account. The IOC’s sale of broadcasting rights accounts for a whopping 73 per cent of its funding. Much of this is distributed to National Olympic Committees, propping up the broader Olympic system.

The COC and CPC can’t help

The call for a broadcast boycott came months after a coalition of 180 human rights groups issued an open letter to international governments back in February, urging nations to withdraw from Beijing 2022. In Canada, the Liberal government passed the buck to leaders of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC).

Reacting to the letter, the chief executive officers of the COC and the CPC — David Shoemaker and Karen O’Neill respectively — penned a joint op-ed in The Globe and Mail, predictably recycling an old anti-boycott argument.

“Boycotts don’t work. They punish only the athletes prevented from going, those they were meant to compete against and those who would have been inspired by them.”

But that’s not exactly true.

Writing on the international community’s sporting boycott of Apartheid South Africa, historian John Nauright suggests that “the psychological impact of sporting sanctions had perhaps the most potent role in undermining white South African confidence and complacency.” 

Although the Olympic boycott alone didn’t topple apartheid, it was part of an important range of sanctions that ultimately wore down the racist regime.

The COC and CPC’s response is to be expected. Both organizations are embedded in the Olympic industry and have a lot to lose. The COC is partially funded by the IOC, and the COC and CPC have already accepted funding from private sponsors to prepare for 2022.

Both Shoemaker and O’Neill are beholden to their respective board of directors, limiting their ability to rock the Olympic and Paralympic boat. In fact, the head of every national Olympic committee is, by definition, an IOC mouthpiece.

China’s human rights abuses are persistent and documented

The situation in China remains grim. Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are detained in massive concentration camps and reduced to forced labour. Tibetans continue to struggle under what Human Rights Watch terms “coercive assimilationist policies” intended to strangle and extinguish their culture.

Pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong were recently sentenced to up to five years in prison for participating in an anti-government march in 2019. Freedoms of religion, assembly, expression and speech are stifled. And those who attempt to flee are subject to recapture, imprisonment and torture.

The IOC is likely well informed about China’s human rights abuses. After all, its report, “Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy” was co-authored by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who had first-hand experience working with the country. Hussein lamented over China’s lack of co-operation, noting that his staff “have not been given unfettered access to the country, including to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the human rights situation is reportedly fast deteriorating.”

The IOC won’t budge

The IOC has a long history of paying lip service when it comes to human rights issues. For example, the Olympic Games routinely result in the displacement and abuse of host populations. No amount of lobbying from rights groups makes a difference. The IOC views hosting decisions in dollars and cents, and the cancellation of a single Games would mean billions in lost revenue.

When asked about China and human rights issues, IOC President Thomas Bach refused to denounce the country, skirting the question with vague assurances of peaceful internationalism.

In 2015, just seven years removed from the human rights debacle that was the Beijing 2008 Olympics — including the intimidation and imprisonment of those who dared resist the event — the IOC once again awarded Beijing the Games, this time for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

It was a controversial decision. Few nations wanted the Olympics, resulting in a two bid race between China and Kazakhstan, neither of which boast a strong human rights record. By selecting Bejing, the IOC chose to be complicit in China’s violation of human rights. 

Bigger than sport

The call for a broadcast boycott opens the door for international broadcasters to do something truly noble — take a stand in support of human rights and refuse to show the 2022 Beijing Olympics. As public and private national broadcasters respectively, the CBC and NBC are beholden to the general public above all else. Not national Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Not advertisers. Not the government. The people.

According to one recent poll, a majority of Canadians — amounting to 64 per cent of those surveyed — either “support” or “somewhat support” boycotting the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games. Americans, meanwhile, are nearly split down the middlewith 49 per cent supporting a boycott. As the Games edge closer, and China’s human rights violations inevitably face heightened scrutiny, the support to boycott will continue to grow.

Many people want to support the Uyghurs, Tibetans, pro-democracy advocates and others struggling for their human rights in China. As national broadcasters, the CBC and NBC can help people do just that. If international broadcasters choose not to boycott the Beijing Olympic Games, they will be complicit in the human rights abuses ongoing in China.

Source: https://theconversationcanada.cmail20.com/t/r-l-trqkijd-kyldjlthkt-f/

Australia:University students will be trained to spot foreign interference

Will be interesting to see how the training works in practice and possible lessons learned for Canada:

University students will be trained to spot foreign interference threats on campus and report them to authorities under proposed new rules aimed at significantly beefing up universities’ responsibilities for countering Chinese government influence on campuses.

Academics and students involved in research collaborations with overseas institutions will also get specific training on how to “recognise, mitigate and handle concerns of foreign interference”, following security agencies’ concerns about critical research being stolen.

The measures are contained in new draft foreign interference guidelines for universities, which are being furiously debated among university leaders and government officials. The federal government has already been forced to review a key element of the guidelines, which would have required all academics to disclose their membership of foreign political parties over the past decade, following a fierce backlash from university chiefs.

Following growing concerns from Australia’s security agencies about the risk of research theft by China and other foreign actors, the guidelines state that students and staff are to “receive training on, and have access to information about how foreign interference can manifest on campus and how to raise concerns in the university or with appropriate authorities”.

The measures are also aimed at addressing reports of students and academics being harassed by pro-Beijing groups on campuses. They propose that orientation programs should be used to “promote to all staff and students ways to report within their university concerns of foreign interference, intimidation and harassment that can lead to self-censorship”. Universities will also be required to have policies that set out how reported “concerns are tracked, resolved and recorded and shared” internally and when they should be reported to outside authorities.

To oversee these measures, the guidelines state that universities must have an “accountable authority” – either a senior executive or executive body – that will have responsibility for research collaborations with overseas institutions, and reviewing security risks and communicating them with the government.

The guidelines have been drafted by the Universities Foreign Interference Taskforce (UFIT), a collaborative body that includes university vice-chancellors and government officials. The final version will replace existing guidelines, which are far less prescriptive. The proposal has prompted considerable concern among academic leaders about the mandatory language underpinning the new requirements, and what consequences, if any, universities will face from government if they fail to implement them.

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge has declined to comment on “what is and isn’t in the draft guidelines”, but said earlier this year he was deeply concerned by a Human Rights Watch report that revealed accounts of Chinese international students being surveilled and harassed by their pro-Beijing classmates.

The report found that students were self-censoring in class out of fear comments critical of the Chinese Communist Party would be reported to authorities, with several students saying their parents in China had been hauled into police stations over their campus activities. Academics interviewed by Human Rights Watch also reported self-censorship practices, saying sensitive topics such as Taiwan had become too difficult to teach without a backlash from pro-Beijing students.

The report’s author, Sophie McNeill, said the draft guidelines indicated the government had taken the report’s findings into account.

“This focus had been missing from the previous guidelines, so it is very welcome these issues are now being recognised and addressed. It is critical the final guidelines include practical measures to safeguard academic freedom and address issues of harassment, surveillance and self-censorship faced by international students and staff,” Ms McNeill said.

Some universities have already taken steps to respond to the issues highlighted by Human Rights Watch. The University of Technology Sydney, for example, updated its orientation program for international students this semester to include guidance on acceptable behaviour and how students could report intimidation or surveillance by other students.

“We have certainly made it clear to students that what is discussed in classrooms is not something that should be reported on to the embassy,” Mr Watt, UTS deputy vice-chancellor, said.

“We’re not encouraging students to spy on each other. But rather, it’s saying: if you get doxxed or bullied or feel unable to express your views in a lecture here is the support available to you and here’s what you should do.”

The university’s misconduct rules allow for a range of penalties in response to unacceptable behaviour, including potential expulsion in serious cases.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/university-students-will-be-trained-to-spot-foreign-interference-20210830-p58n3s.html

Ambrose and Cotler: Bureaucratic barriers are making life even harder for Canada’s allies in Afghanistan

Good bipartisan commentaryÈ

Make no mistake, the Taliban are in control of Afghanistan. Their swift return and seizure of power caught all of us off guard. Afghans who bravely served Canada now find themselves at great risk.

Their lives, and those of their families, are under constant threat of Taliban reprisals. Vulnerable Afghans, including female leaders, human-rights defenders, journalists, persecuted religious minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community, have been abandoned in a country where they are now completely marginalized and must hide once again from an old enemy.

For the interpreters and their immediate family members who came to Canada under special immigration measures between 2009 and 2011, this remains a crisis. These Canadian citizens are desperate to help the extended families they left behind, knowing that they will continue to be actively targeted because of who they are related to. Shall we wait until disaster befalls before we hasten our efforts to evacuate these deserving Afghans?

Like many Western countries that rushed to get people out, Canada did its part, evacuating 3,700 people at risk. The door was open, briefly; now it is firmly shut. Those left behind are pleading for us to honour our commitments. They believe that Canada is a just and compassionate country, with a free and open society – at least, that is what we told them when we first came asking for their help. All is not lost. We can still live up to that ideal, but we have to act fast as lives hang in the balance.

Various charitable and volunteer groups have rallied behind the government of Canada’s efforts to evacuate and resettle the maximum number of eligible Afghans. We call on the government to fund these groups that help keep these people and their families safe. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) should simultaneously accelerate the vetting process in partnership with these groups. While we wait for borders to open, we need to protect these people through the continued provision of support inside the country and the issuance by IRCC of documentation proving their official link to Canada. The very act of this recognition is a lifeline and protected pathway out of Afghanistan.

For vulnerable Afghans, the Canadian government needs to allow visa applications from inside Afghanistan. We must not force people to needlessly risk their lives any further on unnecessary and illegal border crossings in the hope that a Canadian embassy or high commission will process their applications in another country, such as Uzbekistan or Pakistan.

We also need to honour our promises to the interpreters who have already resettled in Canada and are fellow citizens. By extending special immigration measures to the extended family members who remain in Afghanistan, we can remove them from harm’s way and make good on our promises.

Most importantly, we must recognize that there is no playbook for this. Blind adherence to policy and inflexibility to change it, despite the challenging situation on the ground, runs counter to the urgency of doing the right thing. It is a cruel reality that those left behind are facing. Canada must remove the barriers that our own policies present. We need to get the proper documentation to these people so we can get them out quickly and safely when the borders open to the world.

Despite the federal election, all parties must stand behind these initiatives. This is not about politics, not about who is right and who is wrong. It is about honouring the commitments we made to the people of Afghanistan and those who served our interests there. Only then will we be able to live up to our belief that Canada is a force for good in the world.

Rona Ambrose, the former leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is deputy chairwoman of TD Securities. Irwin Cotler, the former Liberal minister of justice and attorney-general, is the international chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-bureaucratic-barriers-are-making-life-even-harder-for-canadas-allies/

China and the Global Economy: Sad “Business as usual” by CIGI

Hard to believe this “business as usual” approach given Chinese government repression of Uighurs, imposition of the China’s national security law on Hong Kong, and the ongoing arbitrary detention of the Michaels and other Canadians. Particularly cruel and shameful coming after 1,000 days of their detention:

CIGI is pleased to host His Excellency Cong Peiwu, China’s Ambassador to Canada, for a conversation with CIGI President Rohinton P. Medhora about China’s role in the global economy. With the upcoming G20 Heads of State and Government Summit from October 30 to 31, this conversation will explore China’s role and influence in issues preoccupying governments worldwide, such as technology, trade, investment, climate change, and cyber and data governance.

To register for the event on September 30 at 9h30: Registration

Source: https://www.cigionline.org/events/china-and-the-global-economy/?utm_source=cigi_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=will-the-us-congress-compel-transparency-from-facebook