The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is warning that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using undercover agents to intimidate and silence members of the Chinese diaspora in Canada who are critical of the regime.
CSIS believes that this campaign is part of a global effort by China that could undermine Canada’s national security.
Since 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has been engaged in Operation Fox Hunt. The effort, which was initiated by President Xi Jinping, seeks to target CCP officials who fled abroad to escape the clutches of the regime.
According to FBI director Christopher Wray, Operation Fox Hunt’s objectives have recently expanded beyond its initial goals of targeting criminals and high-level officials to now suppressing dissent among ordinary Chinese citizens living abroad.
CSIS confirmed with the Globe and Mail that China has also been operating to intimidate the Chinese diaspora in Canada using clandestine methods.
“Certain foreign states routinely attempt to threaten and intimidate individuals around the world through various state entities and non-state proxies. These states, such as the People’s Republic of China, may use a combination of their intelligence and security services as well as trusted agents to assist them in conducting various forms of threat activities,” CSIS head of media relations John Townsend told the Globe and Mail.
“Importantly, when foreign states target members of Canadian communities, these individuals, for various reasons, may not have the means to protect themselves or do not know they can report these activities to Canadian authorities. The fear of state-backed or state-linked retribution targeting both them and their loved ones, in Canada and abroad, can force individuals to submit to foreign interference.”
It is not clear how many people have already been targeted by the Chinese government in Canada but CSIS is urging anyone who has information to contact the authorities.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has also stated that they are aware of China trying to influence and threaten dissidents in Canada but no charges have been laid at this point.
Former CSIS director and former national security adviser Richard Fadden said that the problem goes back many years and that it is significant for CSIS to publicly admit that this is an ongoing issue.
“The Chinese authorities are very active. They are very sophisticated. They have almost unlimited resources and in particular, the Chinese diaspora in Canada is quite large,” said Fadden.