Tuesday, June 06, 2017

"Power and Influence: The hard edge of China's soft power" Australian TV documentary

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2017/06/05/4678871.htm

PROF. JOHN FITZGERALD: Well every government of course has an interest in promoting itself abroad to extending its soft power.
I guess what's different about China is the way in which its run through these clandestine operations.
It's just not out there and open.
Secondly, it's really not out to win an argument, it's out to silence dissent and other countries generally don't operate that way.
They expect to win an argument on its strengths, not to silence all opposition.
The way the Chinese Government or Party through the United Front Department and the Overseas Chinese Bureau operates is effectively to control and silence dissent.

.  .  .

PROF. RORY MEDCALF: There's an awareness of a problem, but the agencies themselves don't have the mandate or the wherewithal to manage the problem.
All they can do is sound the alarm and alert the political class.
The political class needs to take a set of decisions in the interest of Australian sovereignty, in the interest of Australia's independence policy making, to restrict and limit foreign influence in Australian decision making.
CHRIS UHLMANN: After being briefed on the Four Corners-Fairfax investigation, the Attorney General sent us a statement revealing the Prime Minister has asked him to conduct a major inquiry into Australia's espionage and foreign interference laws.
Senator Brandis said, "the threat of political interference by foreign intelligence services is a problem of the highest order and it is getting worse."

Monday, June 05, 2017

My Opinion Piece in the Globe and Mail this Morning: "Free-trade talks with China: Proceed with caution"

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/free-trade-talks-with-china-proceed-with-caution/article35192536/

Canada must not be placed in a position whereby proactively speaking out for and defending human rights in China comes at an economic cost to Canada imposed by China, once our economies are integrated through a binding free-trade treaty. Other countries with high economic dependence on China now tread very softly on concerns about Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, cyberespionage, arbitrary arrests of lawyers and political dissidents and the growing practice of Chinese security forces and policy to operate ever more boldly in foreign jurisdictions, including Canada.

It is also critical that Ottawa demonstrate it will scrutinize all Chinese state investment in Canada, to ensure that our economic integration with China is strictly based on trade and investment reciprocity.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Globe and Mail - China’s Premier urges Trudeau to relax controls on high-tech exports

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/chinas-premier-urges-trudeau-to-relax-controls-on-high-tech-exports/article34746356/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com

"Former Canadian diplomat Charles Burton, who served in Beijing, said Mr. Li appears to be pressing China's advantage now that the Trudeau government has allowed O-Net to take over ITF Technologies, a Montreal-based firm involved in sophisticated laser technology with military applications.
"The reversal of the decision on the O-Net acquisition was really unprecedented in Canada," Mr. Burton said. "Certainly, the fact the Chinese Premier is now flagging high-tech suggests the Chinese government is hoping that Canada will be transferring more high-technology that they may not be able to acquire from other countries and maybe indicating that this will be an important condition of the upcoming free-trade negotiations. … They are seeing this as something they are expecting from Canada now that we have done it with the laser technology."
Mr. Burton said the Prime Minister must be cautious in the trade negotiations that it is not bullied by Beijing to give up key technology, especially when Canada's Five-Eyes intelligence-sharing partners have restrictions on such transfer, including U.S. firms operating in this country.
"The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand would all be concerned if they felt classified technology was being passed on to China through Canada. I think that would really cause them to question our commitment to the alliance," he said."

Sunday, April 16, 2017

My Opinion piece: "China is paralyzed on looming North Korea threat. Will Trump show restraint? - The Globe and Mail"

China is paralyzed on looming North Korea threat. Will Trump show restraint? - The Globe and Mail



"The post-Kim fallout of a German-like reunification of Korea would be profoundly politically destabilizing for China. The opening of the secret police files and the seeking of redress by the politically wronged, followed by the inevitable public trials for corruption and political venality of China’s “lips and teeth” North Korean political and military elite would trigger huge interest among citizens of China. Parallels to the Chinese system would be too closely drawn for the Chinese Communist Party leadership to explain away, and the threat this poses to mainland Chinese political stability could well be the beginning of the end of the Chinese Communist Party’s single-party authoritarian rule. Moreover, the files would likely show PRC regime complicity in a lot of matters relating to the DPRK that would severely debase China’s international prestige."

Monday, April 10, 2017

Canadians wary of deeper economic ties with China: poll - The Globe and Mail

Canadians wary of deeper economic ties with China: poll - The Globe and Mail



Former Canadian diplomat and China expert Charles Burton said the poll makes it clear “most Canadians do not agree” with Mr. McCallum or Mr. Lu when they say human rights should not form part of trade talks.
Mr. Burton said it also suggests Canadians do not want Chinese state-owned companies acquiring majority control of Canadian companies in sensitive sectors such as the oil sands or technology with military applications.
The former Canadian diplomat said Canada should be on guard for language the Chinese may wish to insert in a free-trade deal that could hinder Ottawa’s ability to speak out against human-rights abuses.
“I think the Chinese would attempt to do that … text that talks of mutual respect for the sovereignty of each nation and non-interference in domestic affairs – the kind of language the Chinese could use to press a government,” Mr. Burton said.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Canadian Ambassador Concerned About Canadians Impeding His "Agenda" in China

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/canada-a-long-long-way-from-china-extradition-deal-mccallum/article34560846/

“My job is partly to persuade China to do things, but my job is also to persuade Canada to get its own act in order,” Mr. McCallum said. He expects to return to Canada every six to eight weeks. There are “things that people in Canada are doing which are impeding our agenda over here,” he said.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Australian former High Commissioner - "Trade with China: Proceed with caution"

"It’s too early to say what, if anything, the FTA will deliver, trade-wise. Australian exports to China are actually down.  .  . . Beggaring belief, a Chinese firm with military connections was allowed to take over the management of our northernmost port of Darwin.  .  .  . If Canada is to draw one conclusion from Australia’s experience, it’s for political leaders to take the Canadian people with them, openly, in advance."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/trade-with-china-proceed-with-caution/article34493609/