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Sino Citizen Sleeper Cells

Wayland Li Martial Arts Centre, Markham, Ontario, Chinese-Canadian children celebrate China's National Day with local politicians and Chinese consulate representatives, 2017.

Much ink has been spilt on the Chinese interference in our 2019 and 2021 elections and the Liberal government’s refusal to acknowledge the threats as outlined in the relevant Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Reports. 

The gist of the situation appears to be that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government pressured its consulates in Canada to create strategies to leverage politically active Chinese community members and associations to coordinate votes within Canadian society. Ultimately, eleven ridings were targeted.

Despite the amount of print on this issue, the media reporting is misguided: centre-left media, such as the Globe and Mail, is centring the issue on the Communist Party of China (CCP) while centre-right media, like the National Post, is focusing its ire on Trudeau. In either case, the blame is being laid at the feet of the state leaders and government officials. While blame is being laid upon such leaders, the implicated Chinese voters are being excused as mere pawns in the conniving minds of a Chinese Communist master plan since,

[a] key part of [the PRC’s] interference operation [was] to influence vulnerable Chinese immigrants in Canada. The intelligence reports quote an unnamed Chinese consulate official as saying it’s ‘easy to influence Chinese immigrants to agree with the PRC’s stance’. 

It is true that Trudeau is a problem. Likewise, with the CCP. But they are not the problem. The problem, in case, is the Chinese diaspora in Canada. 

You see, when the media reports on ‘Chinese interference’ in Canadian elections, they really mean that the Canadian elections were interfered with by Chinese people. 

This may sound simplistic, but is it really? 

When CSIS states that ‘PRC officials anticipate[d] that … voters from Mainland China [would] show their strength [in the next federal election]’, they mean that a significant portion of the Chinese diaspora in our own country share in the national interests of their homeland and will demonstrate that in our elections.  

Now, there is going to be a special investigation – surely a really special one that, unlike the Freedom Convoy Inquiry, will finally nail Trudeau to the wall by exposing his negligence, malpractice and corruption… Ha. Who are we kidding. But fingers crossed.

Nonetheless, there will likely be a trove of facts that will come to light during the investigation, but what we see is this: a foreign nation, in this case China, was promoting sympathetic candidates amongst members of their diaspora in Canada. The members of that diaspora then voted for those candidates because they genuinely align with those candidates’ values and/or the values of the PRC. Additionally, there are cases wherein individual Chinese people were willing to commit election fraud to satisfy their own self-interests and/or the interests of the PRC. 

At the risk of over-egging the pudding: what we have is an ethnically coherent electoral sleeper cell that can be activated into service to influence elections. 

This is very clearly a problem, and it doesn’t require some artificially nuanced view.

I also reckon that the Chinese diaspora in Canada is not the only locus of foreign influence in this post-national state of ours. Certainly, the Indians have a role to play in this, too. Oh wait: of course, they do

I wasn’t sure about writing on this topic since it was fresh, complicated, and will likely take months to unravel the details of how this interference was conducted. That said, I think that the details of the ‘how’, in this case, are not as important as the ‘who’. 

What prompted this attempt at getting these thoughts on paper was listening to Trudeau’s latest speech on Parliament Hill on the matter. 

In the speech, Trudeau squirts out ink of his own in the form of obscurantism towards the issues at hand. To sum up the speech, the Prime Minister’s concern is principally with the public’s ‘perception of election integrity’ and that ‘Canadians must have faith in our institutions’. Despite this, there was, apparently, no evidence of election interference because if there was such evidence, then the government would have acted upon it. (This may bring comfort to children, but as a straight-forward logical matter, this is ridiculous.)

Regarding the ‘evidence’: some points to Chinese people in Canada playing a role in the election interference – both wittingly and unwittingly. If true, what are we to do with these people? Deportation? Criminal charges? Likely nothing will happen, sadly. In fact, Trudeau has stated that he’s going to set up protections for ‘…communities both targeted by attempts at foreign interference and also feel targeted when xenophobia and fear-mongering overtake legitimate concern for our democracy and national security.’  And this is one of the more infuriating aspects in this case: despite the real case of democratic subversion by landed foreigners for their homeland’s interests, the likely outcome will be increased scrutiny on European Canadians who point out the inconvenient facts that make such subversion possible, as well as that it is only made increasingly likely by our immigration policies, and watering down of our national identity. 

At the outset, I stated that the problem, here, is the Chinese diaspora in Canada. While that is true, we must not forget that they’re working with what they’ve been given, which is a country of deracinated people who have had their sense of ethnic and national loyalties diluted to homeopathic conditions. 

I don’t wish to downplay the severity of election interference, I only mean to say that we’re fighting a two-front battle against subversion at home, and subversion from abroad. 

The reach of other nations’ ability to influence elections reaches as far as their people, and as European numbers decline and as Asian and African numbers rise, this practice and threat could only become more evident. 

With luck, the potential findings of the inquiry will highlight the conceits of multi-cultural neo-liberal democracies and illustrate that people are not inter-changeable, that foreign interests do not neatly align with our own, and that they do not merely operate according to the market-driven logic of mutual co-operation in commodity exchange. In fact, and as stated elsewhere, co-operation correlates with ethnicity – and our honour system, which we have inherited, is being taken advantage of by those who have no business to it.

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