Recent experiences of Canadians in China have Ottawa professing its intention to finally stand up to Beijing. But Canada’s internal Chinese threat demonstrates greater vulnerability to Middle Kingdom machinations. China complements its military and economic power with three Western-bestowed weapons: immigration policies, political correctness, and corporate greed.
Sino-Canadian relations came to prominence on August 10, when a Chinese court imposed the death sentence on a Canadian convicted of drug smuggling. The following day China sentenced another Canadian to 11 years on highly doubtful espionage charges in a largely secret trial. A second alleged Canadian spy awaits trial on equally dubious charges. China arrested those two in apparent retaliation shortly after Canada detained Beijing insider Meng Wanzhou, CFO of tech giant Huawei Technologies, on an American extradition request. While the Canadians languish in solitary confinement, Meng resides in one of her two Vancouver mansions.
Vague talk of trade sanctions and a boycott of Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics emphasizes Canada’s helplessness. But China’s depredations inside Canada have long been obvious, especially in Vancouver. The city’s pitiable state might induce scorn, but “Hongkouver” presents a warning to the entire West. With nearly 50 million Chinese living overseas, 80% of them citizens of 180 countries, the rest of the world might wonder whose interests this enormous migration serves. Two recent books have, however cautiously, examined its impact on Canada.
Both authors are journalists, so they distance themselves from any hint of racial realism. Published earlier this year, Sam Cooper’s Wilful Blindness: How A Network of Narcos, Tycoons and CCP Agents Infiltrated the West starts with a preface by a Chinese granting permission to criticize Chinese corruption. Despite Cooper’s disturbing account, the author sometimes expresses almost breathtaking naivete.
Additional revelations come from the 2019 publication Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada. But this writer, former Hong Kong correspondent Jonathan Manthorpe, actually considers “populism” as characterized by Boris Johnson and Donald Trump to be an even more “toxic” threat to Canada than the Chinese Communist Party.
That must be a Chernobyl-level of toxicity because Manthorpe describes China as “a fascist regime . . . with a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” He adds comparisons to Russian “Mafia capitalism” and “a classic Chinese imperial dynasty.”
The dynasties bring to mind the Middle Kingdom, a country that for thousands of years shut out the rest of the world to bask in its sense of racial superiority.
Now China has unleashed itself and its presumed superiority on the world. Historically, that’s a stunning reversal of more than a century of humiliation by foreign powers that ended with imperial Japan’s 1945 collapse. During the Opium Wars beginning in 1839, British gunboats opened China to the drug trade with Britain, the world’s first narco-state. Grim irony can be seen in the streets of Vancouver, where a sprawling underclass of mostly White addicts contrasts with an ostentatiously wealthy Chinese elite. Cooper says some Canadian and American intelligence sources believe today’s fentanyl trade represents Beijing’s “weaponized” use of the drug.
As Manthorpe explains, what’s good for Chinese business is good for the CCP. He says it’s irrelevant whether or not a Chinese company is state-owned. All sizeable businesses in China and many abroad hold close ties to the Beijing regime.
That’s an aspect of guanxi, the network of relationships that binds Chinese politicians, entrepreneurs, and gangsters. Yes, gangsters — Canadian police and security intel shows that “China’s government is in fact controlling drug cartels,” Cooper reports.
Beginning in the 1970s, the Chinese population of the Canadian province of British Columbia expanded rapidly thanks to exceptionally lax immigration policies, partly a reciprocal gesture for Chinese trade with powerful Canadian corporations. Maybe few places in the world can match greater Vancouver for its proportion of Chinese. Their numbers, wealth, and influence have transformed the metropolitan area.
Among the results have been soaring real estate prices. By the 1980s, middle class Canadians found Vancouver increasingly unaffordable as affluent new arrivals inflated single-family home prices and tore down modest buildings to put up monster houses and luxury towers.
“A new financial system based on secretive transactions had become the city’s economic centre of gravity,” Cooper writes. The main sources were “drug money and capital flight from Mainland China.”
Despite admonitions about “racism,” concerns have been raised since at least the 1990s about money laundering’s impact on housing. Internationally recognized as “the epicentre of money-laundering” is River Rock Casino, a BC government-owned, largely Chinese-staffed, and Chinese-patronized enterprise in the Chinese-dominated Vancouver suburb of Richmond.
Money soiled in any manner comes clean here. Chinese have literally dragged in hockey bags stuffed with grimy twenties from the street drug trade. Others use more sophisticated money transfers through underground banks in Macau or the Chinese mainland with branches in Vancouver and Richmond. These illegal banks have expanded to serve Hispanic cartels and Iranian-backed narco-terrorists.
River Rock patrons convert the money to gambling chips for a stint at the tables before redeeming the chips for respectable bank drafts. BC-originated money both comes from and fuels drug trafficking and loan sharking, with associated gangsterism like prostitution and murder. Money smuggled into BC from China generally comes from wealthy business/criminal figures (there isn’t much distinction) who, despite their usually cosy CCP connections, want to evade currency export restrictions to establish themselves, their families, and their money overseas.
With that money comes influence. And that influence — notwithstanding the flight from the motherland — serves Beijing. Following a two-year study by RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the 1997 Sidewinder report provided evidence of CCP-linked businessmen, intelligence operatives and Triads affecting Canadian corporate and political spheres. Targets included Canadian real estate (a place to park wealth and a means of influencing local politicians), technology (especially communications and military applications), academia (more tech intel, along with influence over Chinese students and Canadian curricula), media (to propagate the CCP message), and politicians at all levels of government.
As if confirming the evidence, Canada’s political establishment shot the messengers. “Those involved with the investigations were demoted, moved aside or ridden out of town by senior RCMP and CSIS team members,” Cooper states.
Except for a few more investigative reports that met similar fates, Canadian law enforcement largely gave up. But Manthorpe says Sidewinder’s dramatic findings “obscured the far more subtle and successful means that Beijing uses to ensure its interests in Canada and other countries.”
They include the CCP-funded Confucius Institutes in Canadian schools and universities that monitor overseas students and spread CCP propaganda. But not always subtle are tactics of the United Front Work Organizations that China maintains in its consulates and embassies. Ongoing United Front campaigns include stealing intellectual property, harassing overseas Chinese dissidents, and various means of demanding racial loyalty from the diaspora. Special ops have included buying up and shipping home Canada’s (and other countries’) supplies of personal protective equipment while the motherland kept its Covid epidemic secret. Connected with Triads and money laundering, the United Front funds Chinese and compliant White political candidates.
“Most United Front ‘overseas leaders’ are businessmen who trade on their guanxi with Beijing to earn fortunes,” Cooper explains.
Cooper names several Chinese and White politicians on Canada’s municipal, provincial, and federal levels who have likely or overt links to Chinese underground banking, real estate, loan sharking, or United Front activities. Among them is former prime minister Jean Chretien, “who since leaving office, has been at the CCP’s financial trough earning millions for himself and influencing Global Affairs [Ottawa’s foreign ministry] in the public policy realm. Various Liberal Ministers and Global Affairs have shown a bias and written policy that is favourable to China and not to Canada.” And Cooper notes that the family foundation of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepted $1 million from a Chinese organization led by a United Front official.
Manthorpe portrays Canada’s last five Quebecois prime ministers as suspiciously China-friendly, from Mao-admirer Pierre Trudeau down to his son Justin. All five have political, business, and/or family links to the Desmarais family of Quebec that runs Power Corp., a strong beneficiary of Sino-Canadian trade and “the premier gatekeeper of this country’s formal relations with China.” However Quebec, unlike the provinces of Ontario and especially BC, remains relatively unscathed by Chinese immigration.
This Quebecois guanxi helps explain why Canada capitulated while our two most similar countries, Australia and New Zealand, continue to resist Chinese influence. Also unlike Canada, the US has launched “a steady stream of prosecutions” against CCP operatives for stealing technology. “It defies belief that the same level of industrial espionage is not going on in Canada,” Manthorpe argues.
But the Quebecois elite aren’t entirely to blame. The story of HD Mining International casts harsh light on BC opportunists. Neither Manthorpe nor Cooper mention this. In 2013 the Chinese company began coal mining in northeastern BC with an underground work force comprised entirely of 51 miners imported directly from China. Prior to suspending work due to declining prices, the company intended to expand the underground operation to 480 Chinese. The company claimed only Mandarin-speakers could understand longwall mining, a procedure commonly used in the US and Australia, among other countries.
Even after media publicized the story (while avoiding its obvious racial implications), the BC government continued to support the company’s Chinese-only hiring policy. HD Mining stuck with its agenda as two other companies in the same region laid off 775 Canadian coal miners.
Some Third World countries have suffered unfettered Sino arrogance, especially after being compromised by the loans and subsidies behind Belt and Road, the multi-trillion-dollar program to link much of the world’s infrastructure and resources to China. But BC has lowered the bar for First World countries. That prompts the question of who in BC benefits.
“Canadian political parties, academic institutions of various sorts, and the media have been far too willing to accept benefits, financial and otherwise, that make them beholden to the CCP,” Manthorpe stresses. “Perhaps most questionable are Canadian politicians and officials who in retirement from public life accept lucrative consultant work or advisory positions with the CCP and its agencies.”
It’s not just the Chinese elite who attract this subservience. Desperate to win votes from greater Vancouver’s huge Chinese middle class, many White politicians embarrass themselves with awkward attempts to speak Mandarin.
Much as China has transformed Canadian politics, Manthorpe says, China has overwhelmed Canadian business. “CCP practices of corruption, contempt for the rule of law and the sanctity of contracts, hierarchical arrogance, and disdain for social disparity have deeply infected the Canadian corporate world.”
Two years ago, after decades of compliance and/or complicity, the BC government ordered an inquiry of sorts into money laundering. As it plods along, the Cullen Commission will supposedly examine the problem’s full scope “including real estate, gaming, financial institutions, and the corporate and professional sectors.”
But a so-far very narrow focus suggests a number of inhibitions, including fear of racism allegations and the current provincial New Democratic Party government’s complicity, in addition to that of its 16-year BC Liberal predecessor. A thorough inquiry, as Cooper’s book implies, would release a non-partisan sorcerer’s apprentice on the entire establishment. The commission’s report comes due in December.
Meanwhile we can speculate how China will assert itself in Canada as this country succumbs to the multi-faceted social revolution. A hint might have come in Montreal’s 2019 homosexual Pride Parade, a type of event as sacrosanct in Canada as is the Hajj to Islam. Barely mentioned in Canadian media was the experience of a small number of would-be participants from Hong Kong who intended to protest Beijing’s anti-homo policies. Parade organizers barred them following threats from a much larger, aggressively contemptuous group of pro-CCP demonstrators. The Beijing supporters then disrupted the event’s moment of silence by singing the Chinese national anthem. Had Whites committed any comparable “hate crime,” of course, all hell would have broken loose. But police, marchers, and the antifa contingent that was presumably present did nothing.
Also present was Prime Minister Trudeau. Normally quick to berate wrong-thinking Anglos, he said nothing.
Even if China uses political correctness to its advantage, the country makes no concessions towards the West’s dominant ideology. Yet the regime has been embraced by Canada’s political and corporate elite.
Wayne Northrup is a pen name for the author of You Can’t Say That (http://youcantsaythat.ca/), a racial satire set in Canada.