Americas, Asia - Pacific

Canadian government report accuses China of espionage

Report says China 'influencing' Chinese community in Canada, globally

Barry Ellsworth   | 27.01.2022
Canadian government report accuses China of espionage

TRENTON, Canada 

A Canadian government report accuses China of "influencing or manipulating" the Chinese community in Canada and worldwide, Global News said Wednesday. 

The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO) has used "coercive tactics" to intimidate the Chinese community living internationally, according to the report, which was obtained by the television network.

“This involves intimidation of OC (Overseas Chinese) at every level of society,” said the report. “The managing of their behavior is accomplished through incentive or disincentive, as well as intelligence-gathering, surveillance, and subversion against OC communities.”

The report was penned by the Canadian Border Service Agency security branch in March 2020 but only came to light following the recent court case of a former OCAO employee who wanted to immigrate to Canada.

The report said the Chinese government in particular targets democracy activists, Uyghurs and Falun Gong followers.

Beijing denied the charges, saying that the OCAO is simply responsible for the welfare of Chinese citizens living in other countries.

But the report paints a different picture.

“The OCAO works to undermine individuals identified as threats to the CPC (Communist Party of China), and it organizes and monitors ‘overseas Chinese business, student, cultural, media, and political networks,'" it said.

A Uyghur community leader in Ottawa said the report was true. He said he was targeted by the OCAO.

Mehmet Tohti told Golbal News that shortly before he was to give testimony to a Canadian parliamentary committee on China, he received a message that his mother in China was "dead."

The fate of his mother is unclear.

Tohti further stated that he believed rallies in Toronto in support of Uyghurs in China -- it is believed they are kept in concentration camps and used for forced labor -- were subjected to counter-protests organized by the OCAO.

“The Chinese government has spent huge resources in supporting those Overseas Affairs organizations in Canada and elsewhere,” said the activist. “These groups are very well-funded in Beijing to undermine democracy and freedom in Canada."

The report said Beijing was zeroed in on very country for “the elimination of rival discourse or potential threats among OC groups that are critical of the regime, or that challenge its hold on power.”



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