Public Safety raises the alarm on China’s foreign interference threat in letter addressed to MPs

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Public Safety Minister Bill Blair sent a letter to his fellow MPs warning the Canadian government about the foreign interference threat that China poses. 

The 12-page document identifies foreign interference in Canadian affairs as a “significant threat” and lists China as a main perpetrator of interference activities. 

“In addition, foreign states, including the PRC [People’s Republic of China], attempt to threaten and intimidate individuals around the world, including in Canada, through various state entities and non-state proxies,” wrote Blair.

“However, we are aware that these tactics can also be used as cover for silencing dissent, including on university campuses, pressuring political opponents and instilling general fear of state power, no matter where a person is located.”

Blair goes on to cite the Chinese government’s Operation Fox Hunt as an example of influence activities taking place on Canadian soil. 

Fox Hunt is a PRC program meant to investigate Chinese officials abroad who fled corruption charges and to repatriate them to the mainland for prosecution. The program has been in effect in Canada since 2014. 

“The government is aware of ongoing attempts by some foreign states to undermine our economy for their own benefit,” Blair continues. 

“Whenever malign foreign states seek to harm our communities, undermined our values or jeopardize the very institutions on which our country is built, we will take action.” 

Recently, the Canadian government turned down an attempt by the Chinese state-owned company Shandong Gold Mining Ltd. to acquire a northern Canadian gold mine due to national security concerns. 

Shortly before the decision, the Canada Security Agency’s 2019 annual public report, warned that “a number of state-owned enterprises and private firms” with close ties to foreign states were endangering Canada’s national security by purchasing vital Canadian projects.

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