Beijing funds a "secret network of candidates" in the Canadian elections, and Trudeau warns
Canadian prime minister Justine Trudeau.
photo: KurdSat English
Beijing said China "has no interest" in interfering in Canadian internal affairs.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Monday that China is playing "hostile games" with Canadian democracy and institutions after a media report revealed foreign interference in Canada's electoral process.
Trudeau's comments came after a report by the "Global News" about Beijing funding a "secret network" of candidates in Canada's recent elections and days after the authorities opened an investigation into illegal Chinese "police stations" in the Toronto area to track Chinese dissidents and opponents.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) believes the Chinese Consulate in Toronto was behind a large financial transaction to at least 11 federal election candidates and Chinese government-affiliated operatives who worked as campaign staffers – C$250,000 (US$185,000) was allegedly transferred through a provincial Ontario lawmaker, and the staffers to a federal election candidate.
"We have taken significant measures to strengthen the integrity of our electoral processes and systems, and we will continue to make efforts to combat election interference and foreign interference in our democracies and institutions," Trudeau told reporters.
"Unfortunately, we see countries and international players from all over the world, whether China or others, continue to play hostile games with our institutions and democracies," he added. His comments followed the federal police force statement about the active investigation of a secret network of illegal Chinese "police stations" in Toronto.
Citing unnamed sources, Global News reported that Canadian intelligence services told Trudeau's government that China is seeking to influence or sabotage the country's democratic process.
The media report claimed that Beijing transferred money through an Ontario representative and others to at least 11 candidates and Chinese agents who worked as activists in their election campaigns. It added that Beijing has sought to appoint agents in the offices of members of parliament as well as other places to influence policies.
Last month, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced that it was looking into reports of "criminal activity related to so-called police stations." According to the Spain-based rights group Safeguard Defenders, Chinese police have used these police stations to carry out operations on foreign soil and pressure Chinese nationals to return to China to face criminal charges.
China has denied accusations of illegal activities by these centers, saying that these sites provide services such as renewing driving licenses for Chinese citizens abroad. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press conference Tuesday that China "has no interest" in interfering in Canada's internal affairs.
"Relations between countries can only be based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit," he said. "Sino-Canadian relations are no exception. Canada should stop making statements that harm Sino-Canadian relations," he added.
As a popular system, democracies are vulnerable to outside intervention as opposed to a non-democratic system where the circle of ruling excludes the masses.