By Matthew Little
|Jun 12, 2008|
OTTAWA—At a symposium in a quiet wing of Canada's complex of Parliament buildings, over a dozen China experts unwound chapters of a dark and complex tale of corruption, nuclear proliferation, hate propaganda and dangers to come.
The symposium was organized by the Canadian Coalition for Democracies, a national non-partisan organization that works to promote democracy and defend civil liberties around the world.
A number of panelists revealed elements of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that could be cause for grave concern for Canadian law makers who were voting in Parliament just a few steps away.
C. Richard D'Amato, a U.S. Commissioner and former chairman of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission spoke of a "startling lack of any kind of democratic reform" in China in the years since the Clinton administration argued for closer ties with China and supporting its ascension into the World Trade Organization.
D'Amato pointed to the Chinese regime's total media censorship as an area that needs reform.
Rather than opening the media to independent opinions that stray from the CCP's line, the regime enlisted overseas companies like Nortel and Cisco to help it build the world's first communist internet.
This resulted in a world wide web where each page is filtered for sensitive content — if not blocked entirely — and enables the government to monitor the sites surfers are visiting.
"The Chinese are very, very good at controlling the internet" D'Amato said.
Bryan McAdam, a former Canadian diplomat at the embassy in Hong Kong, described how the Chinese regime worked with the Triads (organized criminal groups) to set up front businesses in Canada that helped fund China's massive People's Liberation Army (PLA).
McAdam asserted that many businesses in Canada were fronts set up for the PLA with the help of the Triads. It's an accusation spelled out in detail in an RCMP/CSIS report called Sidewinder, which was denounced and destroyed by the government but later confirmed by U.S. government investigations.
Alastair Gordon, president of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies spoke of the One China policy and the relationship between powerful figures in the Canadian government and Montreal-based Power Corporation.
The One China policy is China's declaration that it owns Taiwan and Tibet and has the right to respond with military force should either declare independence. Taiwan, a democratic nation with a population of 23 million, has faced continued threats of military violence and China currently has 1300 ballistic missiles aimed at the island.
Gordon criticized the Canadian government for supporting the One-China policy, noting the absurdity of a democratic country supporting the claims of a tyrannical regime eager to destroy another democratic nation.
He also pointed out several connections between Power Corporation, a Canadian company with business interests in China, and various high-ranking government officials. Gordon suggested the company, out of business interests, was influencing public figures into taking a pro-CCP stance.
David Harris, a security and terrorism specialist, detailed the Chinese regime's long history of helping nations such as Iran and Pakistan develop their nuclear abilities.
Harris pointed to the Chinese military's government-mandated obligation to turn a profit as a partial explanation as to why it sells weapons to some of the world's most unstable and brutal regimes including Burma, Sudan, Pakistan, apartheid South Africa and others.
A 1997 CIA report named China the single most important supplier of weapons of mass destruction and technology in the world, said Harris.
Canadian senator Con Di Nino spoke of the upcoming Beijing Olympics. Di Nino said boycotting the games would be a wrong move because the Chinese regime would distort the boycott as an attack on all Chinese people.
Former MP David Kilgour discussed the Chinese regime's role in Sudan, Burma, Taiwan, North Korea and Iran but first made a distinction between the Chinese government and the Chinese people.
"Nobody should confuse the Chinese people with their unelected government," he said.
'The government of China is among the worlds worst human rights violators….The good people of China are having a terrible time."
Kilgour went on to describe China's ongoing oil deal with Sudan and the $80 million in weapons it has sold to that country. He also discussed how China used its permanent veto at the UN to block peace activities in Darfur.
Renowned Canadian journalist John Fraser gave the luncheon address and spoke of his personal experiences in China.
He described efforts to talk to his mainland Chinese friends about Tibet and the response he often got from them that the mountainous region is a massive territory of savage people and serves as a buffer against India.
"It's just a terrible blind spot," he said, adding that the Chinese people need to be told exactly what took place in Tibet.
"I saw what happened there under Maoist rule and it was truly a tragedy"
Fraser joined other presenters in saying the Canadian government needed to do a better job of standing up for its own principles when dealing with China.
"We are facing some sort of assault on our own institutions if we don't have a practical attitude in dealing with China."
Dr. Shiyu Zhou of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium discussed internet censorship and efforts to break through the internet blockade the CCP is using to keep Chinese people in a permanent information blackout.
"In closed societies, information control is often used for manipulation and indoctrination and sometimes also use to whip up anti-democratic sentiment, as illustrated by the xenophobia fostered online in the People's Republic of China following the Tibet crackdown and the Olympics Torch Relay," he said.
China democracy activist Sheng Xue discussed the ongoing intimidation she faced from the CCP even though she now lives in Canada and how some friends were afraid to be seen with her because they feared retaliation from the CCP.
She also said that despite economic reforms, Chinese people have not gained greater political freedom in the last 20-plus years.
"Politically speaking, people in China are more strictly controlled now than in the 1980s," she said.
Sheng described communist China as the "supreme headquarters of all dictatorships." Another panelist echoed that sentiment saying "whenever there is something bad happening you can be relatively certain the Chinese government has people there making it worse."
Cindy Gu, publisher of the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times described the regime's efforts to control overseas Chinese media. She detailed the regime's ongoing efforts to suppress The Epoch Times as well as the impacts that overseas Chinese media have had. She pointed to mobs that formed in New York City's Chinatown as an example of what those media could do.
Overseas Chinese media recently repeated a fabricated report by Xinhua, the CCP's official news agency, which stated that Falun Gong practitioners were blocking donation activities for victims of the Sichuan earthquake. The fabricated reports led to mobs of Chinese people in New York swarming Falun Gong adherents, often assaulting them.