Hyping China’s overseas ‘police stations,’ Canada gravely infected by US virus of smearing China
Published: May 15, 2023 08:27 PM
Canada's choice Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

Canada's choice Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

When Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino attempted to hype up the so-called China's overseas police stations, one word stood out - could. "Mendicino concedes there could be new 'Chinese police stations' in Canada," the country's CTV News reported on Sunday. 

The first paragraph of the article is filled with similar expressions, such as "there may be" new "Chinese police stations" and Royal Canadian Mounted Police will close any new sites "if they do exist."

The real story should be why this speculation without evidence became a news story in the first place. 

In April, the US arrested two Chinese Americans, accusing them of operating a "secret police station," attempting to label China as engaging in illegal extraterritorial law enforcement and undermining the sovereignty of other countries. After that, the Canadian government was demanded to follow suit and take more proactive actions against such stations, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.

Canada now shows its obedience. However, when it makes audacious slander against China based solely on vague information, it is making a fool of itself - pretending to be serious in dealing with a "national security threat" yet with nothing more than junky information at hand.

China has repeatedly clarified, as Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said again on Monday, there is no so-called overseas police stations. The relevant institutions helped overseas Chinese who could not return to China due to the pandemic renew their driving licence and perform physical examination. They are not so-called police stations or police service centers at all. The local Chinese groups who helped provide venues for the services and the volunteers are Chinese from the local communities who are willing to help their compatriots, not Chinese police personnel. In light of the evolving COVID situation and relevant services now available online, the relevant service centers have been closed. China always upholds the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, strictly observes the international law, and respects the judicial sovereignty of all countries.

Neither the US nor Canada listens. Instead, they cherish the report about so-called Chinese overseas police service centers made by the Spanish-based so-called human rights NGO, Safeguard Defenders. Its founder, Peter Dahlin, was previously expelled from China for engaging in illegal unregistered activities. 

The financing of Safeguard Defenders cannot be traced on its official website. But reports show its previous incarnation, the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, an NGO claimed to assist so-called human rights defenders in China, received funds from the National Endowment for Democracy, an organization set up to fund groups conducive to Washington's regime change priorities. 

It seems there is an answer about whom Safeguard Defenders works for, or manipulates and fabricates information for.

Safeguard Defenders' reports focus on overseas dissidents and corrupt officials from China. It's like a group of illegal individuals forming a clique. 

Some Chinese fugitives, fearing being repatriated, often tell fabricated stories about China to NGOs. The NGOs, which likely make money from the fugitives, collect stories from them and help them seek political asylum, while feeding Western governments with anti-China materials they received, Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, told the Global Times. It has nothing to do with national security, but is more likely a money-for-shelter business, Shen said.

Experts question whether Canada, before smearing China, has carried out independent verification of the information at hand. Can it provide solid evidence instead of fabricated stories? 

The US is a source of spreading virus of discrediting China. Canada, sharing the longest international border in the world with the US, is severely infected. It's a virus, which does no good to Canada's long-term healthy development, Shen said. It is going too far in blindly following the US on the path of slandering China in an ugly way, regardless of what a fool it is making itself, and regardless of the fact that there is no historical dispute or conflicting interests between China and Canada.

Canada coordinating with the US goes beyond just hyping the police station. There are the Meng Wanzhou case, and the hype of so-called Chinese interference in Canada's internal affairs. Worse, it announced the expulsion of a Chinese diplomat last week, triggering a reciprocal countermeasure from China. 

Now the bilateral relationship is in a state of diplomatic crisis, said Liu Dan, a research fellow with the Center for Canadian Studies, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.

Yet, Liu added that facts have repeatedly shown that the US is willing to sacrifice Canada when necessary as it believes Canada can be easily manipulated. Forcing Canada to restructure the North American Free Trade Agreement, launching a trade war on steel and aluminum against Canada, and canceling the Keystone XL pipeline project with Canada are proofs. 

Abandoning diplomatic independence does not necessarily bring the greatest security to Canada. Only by positioning itself as a balancer between major powers while making its independent voice, can Canada truly gain respect, including from its ally, the US, Liu added.