Beijing may have tried to modestly vote for Canadians: Federal Unit


The Federal Research Unit has discovered what the Chinese Communist Party’s intelligence operation is aimed at discouraging Canadians from Chinese heritage from voting for conservatives in the last federal election.

According to an analysis by RapidResponse Mechanism Canada, which tracks foreign interference, on September 13, 2021, researchers told the story that the Communist Party media account of China’s social media platform Douyin almost cuts off diplomatic relations with Beijing by conservatives. He states that he has observed widespread sharing.

The report, obtained by the Canadian press through the Access to Information Act, was produced just a week before Canadians went to polls.

Justin Trudeau’s liberals emerged from the referendum on September 20th, renewing their minority mission. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party, led by Erin O’Toole, has formed an official opposition.

Outur, who is no longer the leader, claimed in a podcast recorded this month that the Conservatives had lost eight or nine seats due to foreign intervention from China.

Based in Global Affairs Canada, RapidResponse Mechanism Canada creates open data analysis to graph trends, strategies and tactics of foreign intervention.

Its work supports G7RRM, an initiative that strengthens coordination to identify and respond to major threats to industrial democracy.

Analysis of the message about the Conservative Party was part of RRM Canada’s efforts to monitor the digital information environment for signs of foreign government-sponsored information manipulation in the general election.

In an interview, party diplomatic critic Michael Chung said the analysis was “another evidence that Beijing’s Communist Party leadership interfered with the last general election by disinformation.” ..

When asked to comment on the analysis, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa said, “China has always adhered to the principle of not interfering with the internal affairs of other countries.”

RRM Canada manually reviews Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat, Douyin, Weibo, Xigua, Bilibili and uses website archives, social listening tools and cross-platform social media ranking tools for open source forensic digital analysis. It states that it was carried out.

Analysts first noticed an explanation of conservatives in two articles published on September 8 by the state media tabloid Global Times.

RRM Canada believes that Global Times coverage was facilitated by an article in the Ottawa-based Hill Times, which investigated the position of Canadian political parties on relations between Canada and China. According to analysis, Global Times was the first Chinese publication to cover the content of Ottawa’s publications, with two articles exceeding 100,000 pages each.

RRM Canada notes that the timing is in line with the first federal leaders’ debate and the number of votes is getting closer and closer. Analysis shows that similar works released by major Canadian media in early September, and the Conservative Platform released in August, did not elicit a reaction from China’s state media.

Analysts said several popular Canadian-focused WeChat news accounts began to be involved in the Global Times narrative on September 9, copying content and forms without trusting the publication.

The account also added commentary on the Tories, such as “Chinese are scared of the platform,” and questioned “whether Chinese compatriots should support the Conservatives if they use this rhetoric.” did.

“Unless we have special credit, WeChat users are unaware that the story about conservatives and Autour comes from Global Times, and assume that the article is the original report from a WeChat account in Canada.”

Many WeChat news accounts that serve Canadians are registered with Chinese people, and despite being a well-established news source, “links may be unclear” with the Chinese Communist Party media group. “The analysis states.

Researchers can’t determine if there is a coordination between the CCP media that originally promoted the narrative and the popular WeChat news account that serves Chinese-speaking Canadians who are currently amplifying the narrative. It was, “the September 13 analysis warns.

“Because China’s social media platform is completely uncertain, RRM Canada cannot determine if there was any fraudulent activity that encouraged users to engage in narrative.”

However, Douyin’s Communist media account, the Chinese version of TikTok, has released a video that repeats the headlines of the Global Times on September 8, analysis said. For example, China’s national news agency Xinhua’s Douyin account mentions the Conservative platform “31 times” about China, and “experts” want the party to “almost break diplomatic relations with China.” I shared a video stating.

Some of the conservative platforms in the campaign adopted the presumption that it would confront Beijing on human rights issues, diversify its supply chain and move it away from China, and would not allow Beijing’s state-owned enterprises to buy Canadian enterprises. Low global reliance on important minerals from.

Chung said it was clear that the agent was spreading disinformation on behalf of Beijing in the federal elections.

“It’s hard to measure if that was the reason for the loss of some Conservatives, but it’s no exaggeration to say that it was a factor.”

If Beijing reaches the same conclusion, China “will be bold to do bigger in future federal elections and could undermine our democratic process,” Chung said.

Under the Federal Protocol, there is a public announcement if a committee of senior bureaucrats determines that a case or accumulation of cases threatens Canada’s ability to hold free and fair elections. There was no such announcement last year.

At the House of Commons Committee earlier this month, public security minister Bill Blair, who was campaigning, said, “We all heard anecdotes and opinions,” but received “information from our intelligence.” He said he wasn’t. He provided evidence of foreign intervention in the campaign.

Deputy Minister Rob Stewart told the conference that “as you would expect” there was activity on social media to compose disinformation and influence voting. “There was no threat to the overall integrity of the election.”

The Canadian Election Misreporting Project, which brings together several academic researchers, is about the election with the obvious purpose of Chinese officials and state media convincing Canadians from China to vote against the Conservative Party in 2021. I found that I commented.

“Misleading and critical information about certain candidates has spread on Chinese social media platforms, but there is no evidence that China’s intervention has had a significant impact on the entire election.”

The Conservatives “could have done a better job” to counter such messages, Chung said. “Obviously we didn’t, and that’s a lesson learned.”

Still, the federal government needs to proactively counter disinformation in foreign countries between campaigns, Chung said. During the campaign, he added, the government should make the analysis available from the swift response mechanism readily available to the public.

Fen Hampson, a professor of international affairs at Carlton University, who is closely watching China, agrees that more transparency is beneficial.

He insists on expanding the analytical process, perhaps through the creation of a center that includes non-governmental officials, gathering information from a variety of sources and regularly publishing reports on obvious foreign interference. ..

“It removes it from the domestic political arena, where high bills are always made.”

Jim Bron Skill

Canadian press