When Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies, China’s gigantic telecommunications conglomerate, was arrested in December 2018 at the Vancouver International Airport, few would have imagined her case would crack open a Pandora’s Box and unleash many of the evils in Canada-China relation hidden in the past 50 years.
To be precise, it was the reaction of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), not Meng’s case that did just that. Canadians witnessed with horror how China, in retaliation, captured two hostages, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, within days of Meng’s arrest. The two Michaels have been locked up in single cells on bogus charges related to China’s state secrets, until today. Two more Canadians were put on death row. In addition, close to $5 billion worth of agricultural exports to China has been stalled.
Worse still, pro-Beijing counter-protesters have been flexing their muscles across Canada in the past few months, from Richmond in B.C. to our capital in Ottawa. They intimidated, harassed and muzzled Canadian citizens and students who spoke out against the authoritarian regime over issues such as Tibet, Uyghur and Hong Kong. Even religious prayer meetings or a poster on a student locker at school could not be spared or tolerated. Beijing and their unruly agents are undermining our democracy, trampling on our civil liberties and restricting our freedoms.
However, it is crucial to remember that the evils unleashed from the Pandora’s Box are only part of a covert, coercive, corruptive and comprehensive scheme of a foreign power in operation here in Canada. The said foreign power is the authoritarian regime of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, which commands and controls their overseas operatives. It is also important to remember that this foreign power in no way constitutes or represents the Chinese Canadian community in Canada.
Further reading: How to distinguish between the People’s Republic of China and their operatives as vs. the Chinese-Canadian community.