Canadian espionage agency warns parliamentarians about China’s influence operations

For the first time, Canadian intelligence is briefing individual lawmakers who may be the target of secret and influential operations conducted by China and other authoritarian regimes.

John Townsend, a spokesman for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), said: Told Globe and Mail Government agencies are increasingly wary of Beijing and its agents trying to get along with elected Canadian officials to influence parliamentary and government policies.

“CSIS actively investigates threats that are carried out in secret or deceptive ways, or that involve threats to everyone,” Townsend said of the briefing.

“CSIS provides these briefings to promote awareness of foreign interference and the behavior of other hostile actors, strengthen individual security practices, and protect Canadians and their interests. “

Townsend did not reveal to whom CSIS briefed, but Grove reported that members of all major parties and senators had been contacted.

NDP lawmaker Jenny Kwan, who has spoken out about Beijing’s crackdown on the democratic movement in Hong Kong, told Globe that he was contacted by government agencies before and after the 2021 federal election. She said the main threat mentioned in the conversation with the authorities was China.

“At the briefing, we touched on various issues about how interference could occur and examples of those possibilities to ensure that we were alerted,” Kwan said. “When CSIS has such concerns … it is useful for all lawmakers to be informed.”

Method of influence

and Report for July 2021 The CSIS, entitled “The Threat of Foreign Interference with Canada’s Democratic Process,” said authorities had observed “steady, and in some cases increasing foreign interference” by state officials targeting Canada. ..

“Often, secret and influential operations are intended to deceptively influence the democratic process of supporting Canadian government policies, officials, or foreign political agendas.” The book states.

“This activity involves fostering influential people who influence decision-making, spreading disinformation on social media, and pursuing secret influences on election outcomes. These threats include. It has the potential to target governments (federal, state, local government) at all levels across Canada. “

2020 report Published by Parliamentarians’ National Security and Intelligence Commission (NSICOP), China and Russia have identified China and Russia as “major criminals” in espionage and foreign intervention in Canada.

“The effects of espionage and foreign intervention are not as obvious as the effects of terrorism, but they are the most serious long-term threat to Canada’s sovereignty and prosperity,” the report said.

” [COVID-19] Meanwhile, the pandemic has provided new impetus for foreign states to spy on Canada’s health sector and Canadian organizations operating in science and technology. “

Of the committee 2019 report The Chinese Communist Party has various ways to influence democratic societies, including instructing Chinese entities and individuals to support interfering efforts in the guise of contributing to “national security.” Stated.

The report states that the Chinese government is also strongly targeting the Canadian media in influential activities, including efforts to “harmonize” the international Chinese media with its own state media.

According to the report, China has traditionally taken a “defensive approach” to foreign media through domestic censorship, expelling critical foreign journalists, and recently “massive infusions” such as: Added a more aggressive approach to rebuilding the world’s information environment. Providing funding and sponsorship for advertorials.

“While the media is becoming more and more tightly controlled in China, overseas, Beijing has sought to exploit the freepress vulnerability to gain an advantage,” the report said.

Canada has approximately 650 publications and 120 radio and television programs in languages ​​other than French and English, many of which are “intentionally or unknowingly heavily influenced and manipulated by foreign nations.” “The Commission said.

International organizations such as the United Nations are also subject to foreign interference activities carried out by China. Beijing is the second largest contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping budget and the third largest contributor to the United Nations regular budget.

“Beijing has stepped up its efforts to reshape international discourse on human rights, especially within the United Nations system,” said the NSICOP report.

“Beijing not only stopped criticism of its own system, but also eroded norms such as the belief that the international community is playing a legitimate role in scrutinizing the behavior of other countries regarding human rights, and narrowly defined it based on human rights. We have been aiming to move forward. About economic standards. “

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is a Toronto-based Epoch Times reporter.