Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Former top judge to be prosecuted for corruption

Former top judge to be prosecuted

for corruption

2015-09-29
  • Investigations against the former judge, Xi Xiaoming, started in July. Photo: AFP
    Investigations against the former judge, Xi Xiaoming, started in July. Photo: AFP
The mainland will prosecute a former senior judge from its highest court on suspicion of corruption after accusing him of crimes including illegally accepting public funds, Beijing's anti-graft watchdog said on Tuesday.

Xi Xiaoming, the former vice president of the Supreme People's Court, came under investigation in July for "serious violations of discipline and laws", the terminology China usually uses for corruption.

He is one of the most senior judicial officials to be ousted by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign since the downfall of Zhou Yongkang, the former domestic security chief whose brief included law enforcement and courts. 

Xi Xiaoming had been a member of the ruling Chinese Communist Party for 40 years but has been accused of abusing his position to help his relatives obtain benefits for their business activities, the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in statements on its website. 

Other charges include illegally accepting public funds, breaching confidentiality rules, and leaking secrets related to judicial work. His case has been transferred to legal authorities, the watchdog said, meaning that he will face prosecution. He has also been expelled from the party.

US sends graft suspect back to China

US sends graft suspect back to China

SEP 19, 2015, 5:00 AM SGT

First time China has a fugitive repatriated from US since releasing 100 most wanted list

Image result for US sends graft suspect back to China
BEIJING • The United States has repatriated one of China's most-wanted economic fugitives, the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog said, signalling that Washington is cooperating with Beijing in China's corruption crackdown.
The repatriation of Yang Jinjun marked the first time that China has succeeded in getting a person back from the United States since Beijing published a list of 100 wanted economic fugitives in April, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said on its website yesterday.
Pictures showed Mr Yang on the tarmac at an unidentified Chinese airport, flanked by uniformed Chinese police officers.
SINO-US COOPERATION
The forced repatriation of Yang Jinjun is an important development in the China-US anti-corruption and law enforcement cooperation and has laid an important foundation for cooperation between both sides in this field.
THE CENTRAL COMMISSION FOR DISCIPLINE INSPECTION said on its website yesterday
The list of economic fugitives is part of "Sky Net", an initiative the Chinese government unveiled last month to better coordinate its fight against suspected corrupt officials who have fled overseas and to recover their "dirty" assets.
Chinese officials have long complained that China's anti-corruption fight has been hampered by a reluctance by Western countries to sign extradition treaties.
But the legal basis for the latest repatriation was unclear. China does not have extradition treaties with the United States or Canada - the two most popular destinations for suspected economic criminals.
Such countries have baulked at signing extradition deals with China, partly out of concern about the integrity of its judicial system and treatment of prisoners. Rights groups say the Chinese authorities use torture and that the death penalty is common in corruption cases.
However, the CCDI said in a statement on its website that Sino-US law enforcement and judicial departments had "joined hands in the fight against cross-border corruption offences".
"The forced repatriation of Yang Jinjun is an important development in the China-US anti-corruption and law enforcement cooperation and has laid an important foundation for cooperation between both sides in this field," the CCDI said.
The announcement comes days before Chinese President Xi Jinping starts his first state visit to the United States.
Mr Xi launched a sweeping campaign against graft after assuming power in late 2012, but has been hampered to an extent by difficulty in getting corrupt officials and assets back from overseas.
Mr Yang, who fled to the United States in 2001, was the general manager of a company called Minghe Group in the eastern city of Wenzhou, the CCDI said. He is wanted on suspicion of corruption and bribery and had been subject to an Interpol "red notice".
State media said he was an official from the Chinese city of Wenzhou and linked him to Yang Xiuzhu, a former Wenzhou mayor accused of embezzling more than US$40 million (S$56 million).
Officials say only about a dozen people on the "Sky Net" list have been returned to China so far, mostly from countries with close ties to Beijing.

On the possibility of the Beijing Maple Leafs Hockey Club

Pool/Getty Images

On the possibility of the Beijing Maple Leafs Hockey Club

The IOC will be voting for the host city of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on July 31st in Kuala Lumpur. A strong contender is Beijing, which previously hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.
A Beijing win may have a significant impact on the Maple Leafs. And it has everything to do with China’s quiet growth as a hockey nation.
The emergence of China as an economic power in the last few decades is well documented. Bloomberg has estimated that by 2030, China’s GDP will reach 22.2 trillion dollars. (Note: for years, we have been warned that the Chinese are coming). Such figures as these, combined with the growing affluence of the Chinese middle class, make it extremely unwise for the IOC or any sporting body to overlook the influence and potential of this giant market.
Over the last few years, MLSE started a strong push to export their brand into the region. They envision that the Maple Leafs can transform from a national to a global brand. The dream outcome for MLSE executives would be to parallel the success of the Yankees or Man Utd. (two teams with ubiquitous brand recognition).
MLSE’s plans are notably ambitious. Among the numerous challenges, one stands out as rather obvious: are the Chinese ready to embrace "Canada’s game?" More importantly, who are these masochistic Chinese fans that want to cheer for the Leafs? Regardless of these uncertainties, our sporting overlords remain undeterred and appear poised to take over the world.
Phase one of the Leafs expansion into China is well underway. In November of 2014, Rick Westhead of TSN wrote an article on the Maple Leafs developmental strategy in China. Westhead reported that MLSE had already "established relationships with companies interested in sponsorship agreements with the Raptors." The fruitfulness of these partnerships encouraged them to further explore ways to promote the hockey team overseas.
In 2014, 87 NHL games were broadcast in China as part of a three-year deal with the league. (I have read figures that state the number of Leafs games aired ranged from 12 to 20, but I can’t confirm). In the Stanley Cup Finals, an average of 800,000- 1,000,000 viewers watched the Blackhawks beat the Lightning. These ratings would be the envy of many NHL teams. Upon sensing an opportunity to accommodate Chinese viewers and sponsors that would wish to capitalize on advertising revenue, MLSE began placing Mandarin ads on the ACC’s boards for a few regular seasons games this past season.
Clearly, the financial incentives of growing the game in China are immense. Basketball and the NBA have forged a dominant presence (Yao Ming looms as a political, cultural and actual giant) and therefore have immensely profited. Hockey, however, is still a great unknown, barely registering even as a niche sport. The enormity of the task cannot be overstated, when taking into consideration that the IIHF lists only 308 U-20 players in a country with over a billion people. Meanwhile, basketball has 300 million registered players across the country and shows no sign of slowing down.
The numbers do not seem to discourage Chinese officials, who foresee a future where Chinese national teams can compete with the likes of Canada and the United States in the Olympics.
In the political arena, the Canadian government is seizing the opportunity of "hockey as diplomacy." An interview with Stephen Harper aired on CCTV during a Leafs broadcast, while on his trip to China (accompanying him were various MLSE representatives). In a separate interview, President Xi Jinping claimed that hockey was his favourite winter sport. The urgency to grow the game of hockey is occurring at the state level.
This new partnership between the two nations and MLSE became evident when the Chinese women’s national team arrived for a three-month training stint. In an interview with the Toronto Star, Dan Noble (the Canadian training coach of China’s women’s team), commented that a primary goal was to establish a "long-term partnership." During the women's visit, which began in November, the ladies competed against junior teams and universities in Southern Ontario. They were also invited to Ricoh Coliseumto watch a Marlies game.
Far away from Toronto and MLSE facilities, the Leafs sent a group of representatives to Shanghai for their second hockey development camp in February. Greg Schell, who is the Leafs Coordinator of Hockey Development, explained that the camp is structured so that the children work on things such as skating drills, puck control, and a "modified" version of the draft combine.

Included in that party, was a member of the Leafs alumni, Peter Ing. Ing, who is of Chinese descent through his father’s side, is working as both team ambassador and instructor. In an interview with China’s CCTV-5, Ing was asked to describe his experience so far.
Q: "Is this the first time [you’ve come] to China?"
A: "Yes, this is the first time. I’ve always wanted to come for the right reasons. For me, to be an ambassador for the game of hockey, to be an ambassador for the Leafs -- knowing that Beijing has a great chance for having the Olympics. I think it would be an awesome time to try to grow the game here in China."
Beyond grassroots development, the team is also considering holding future training camp and exhibition games in China. They are by no means alone in trying to shape this emerging hockey landscape. Teams such as the Vancouver Canucks and New York Islanders have already invested in their own programs. TSN recently reported that theKHL is interested in putting an expansion team prior to the year 2022. All of these moves signal that China is a market that is ripe for the game of hockey. One advantage the Leafs may have is that their efforts have given them a sizeable lead over other NHL franchises. They are quietly bringing Canada's game and Canada's favourite team to an entirely new generation of hockey fans.

Chinese Government Bought BILLIONS of U.S. Real Estate for This Reason


Spy fears drive US from Chinese-owned Waldorf


The courting of would-be Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, by Chinese corruption suspect Michael Ching Mo

How graft suspect Michael Ching allied himself with Canada's Liberal leader, with the help of ex-minister Raymond Chan

The courting of would-be Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, by Chinese corruption suspect Michael Ching Mo





September 29, 2015

An investigation by the South China Morning Post has revealed how Chinese corruption suspect Michael Ching Mo Yeung manoeuvred himself and his daughter into the orbit of would-be Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, using a pro-Trudeau political group that was headquartered in Ching’s office. Ching’s attempts to insert himself at the heart of Canadian federal politics were facilitated by his friend, former cabinet minister Raymond Chan, Liberal Party sources said. This was also supported by documents and numerous photographs obtained by the Post.
One picture shows Ching, a Liberal member, lining up to vote at the party’s British Columbia convention in 2013, surrounded by members of the pro-Trudeau youth group dressed in red vests emblazoned with declarations of support for the party leader. Ching is also seen relaxing with Chan and his wife on the convention sidelines.

views & opinions

views & opinions

The NDP are working with their old friends in Communist China again, good to see them still talking.

[–]OTOPIAN[S] 1 point  
The only son of disgraced Communist Party official Cheng Weigao, Michael Ching, 45, is being pursued by China for alleged embezzlement and concealing illegal gains. He is seeking refugee status in Canada.
Did he fly 1st class to Canada to claim "refugee" status?

[–]Tenaciousceeee 1 point  
For people who complain about thinkprogress and thetyee, you would think you'd consider what you're sourcing:
The Kuok family is known to be inclined towards the central government of China, and questions have been raised over the paper's editorial independence.[5] There have been concerns, denied by Kuok, over the forced departures, in rapid succession, of several staff and contributors who were considered critical of China's government or its supporters in Hong Kong. These included, in the mid-1990s, their popular cartoonist Larry Feign, humour columnist Nury Vittachi, and numerous China-desk staff, namely 2000–01 editorial pages editor Danny Gittings, Beijing correspondent Jasper Becker, and China pages editor Willy Lam, who departed after his reporting had been publicly criticised by Robert Kuok.[12][13][14][15]
Cartoonist Feign was abruptly dismissed not long after Kuok's purchase of the newspaper, and after running several cartoons about the culling of human body parts from Chinese prisoners. His firing was defended as "cost cutting", but was widely viewed as political self-censorship during the uncertain final years before Hong Kong's handover to the PRC.[16]
Editorial page editor Gittings complained that in January 2001 he was told to take a "realistic" view of editorial independence and ordered not to run extracts of the Tiananmen Papers, though ultimately was allowed, after protesting "strenuously", to do so. The editor had believed that there had already been sufficient coverage.[17]
At the launch of a joint report published by the Hong Kong Journalists' Association and Article 19 in July 2001, the chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association said: "More and more newspapers self-censor themselves because they are controlled by either a businessman with close ties to Beijing, or part of a large enterprise, which has financial interests over the border."[12]
Mark Clifford, former editor-in-chief of The Standard from 2004–06, was hired as editor-in-chief of 'The Post' in February 2006.[18] He presided over the controversial dismissal of several journalists over an internal prank,[19][20] and himself resigned with effect 1 April 2007.[21]
Editor-in-Chief Wang Xiangwei, appointed by the owner in 2012 after consultation with the Liaison Office, was criticised for his decision to reduce the paper's coverage of the death of Li Wangyang on 7 June 2012.[22] Wang, who had left the office for the day, reportedly returned to the paper after midnight to reverse the staff editors' decision to run a full story. The Post published a two-paragraph report inside the paper; other news media reported it prominently.[23] A senior staff member who sought to understand the decision circulated the resulting email exchanges, that indicate he received a stern rebuff from Wang.[24] Self-censorship concerns were raised in the Chinese-language press of the territory because Wang is Chinese-born, and is a member of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; the paper has since stepped up coverage of the death and aftermath as major news stories.[25] Wang made a statement on 21 June, in which he said he understood the "huge responsibility to deliver news... [and]... the journalistic heritage we have inherited". and said that his decision not to pursue extensive coverage as the story broke was pending "more facts and details surrounding the circumstances of this case".[26]
Reporter Paul Mooney, whose contract with the paper was not renewed in May 2012, said that the Li Wangyang story was not an isolated incident: Wang Xiangwei has "long had a reputation as being a censor of the news... Talk to anyone on the China reporting team at the South China Morning Post and they'll tell you a story about how Wang has cut their stories, or asked them to do an uninteresting story that was favourable to China."[27]
Despite the reported sentiments of the owners, the Post does report on commemorations of the Tiananmen Square Massacre,[28] and ran an editorial criticising the one-child policy in 2013.[29]
In May 2015, the Post told columnists Philip Bowring, Steve Vines, Kevin Rafferty and Frank Ching that their services would no longer be needed. All have criticised the government in commentaries on various subjects, over a number of years. The manner of their dismissal generated criticism, as well as speculation as to who had effected the removals.[22][30][31]

[–]Tsslltng_Glocknspls 1 point  
One can certainly understand why a government would not want to have a public broadcaster or independent journalist or underground newspaper inciting citizen’s emotions about this or that horrendous governmental injustice.
Same reason you shut down the voice of public servants, scientists, statisticians, and other sundry public employees that might know of something going wrong. It’s all about not informing the public about things that demand accountability.
I do not envy Chinese citizens, regardless their personal wealth. I do not think we should emulate their government.

Puppets of Beijing

Puppets of Beijing

Image


An aggressively pro-China policy can only hurt Canada's national interests. So who's pulling the strings in Ottawa's scheme to build up the next Communist superpower?

Kevin Steel - May 30, 2005

Norm Altenhof is in love. The 63-year-old retired 9-1-1 operator and former air force veteran from Calgary returned April 20 from a month-long tour of China bursting with enthusiasm. "I would go back there in second," Altenhof says. "Standing on a street corner in Beijing is just like being in Toronto, only it's cleaner." Everywhere he went, there were outward signs that a country that had been a hermit nation barely a few decades ago had blossomed into a first-world economic miracle. There were boutiques full of Gucci shoes and businessmen in flashy BMWs. After touring nine Chinese cities, and visiting the homes of Chinese nationals of varying economic stations, Altenhof is convinced that the People's Republic of China is a nation to watch in the 21st century. "Everybody was pretty upbeat and looking to the future. They seemed to really embrace capitalism," he says, though he admits he only got a tourist's eye view of things.
It's true that nobody would talk politics in public places, Altenhof admits. Especially not about the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square, which is never discussed openly in Beijing--though, in private, some citizens told him that the actual number of murdered students was 3,000, not the 1,000 widely reported in the West. And there were signs of a growing disparity between the rich and the poor, says Altenhof. Despite aggressive economic reforms over the past decade--including the partial privatization of state-owned firms and even the creation of a national stock exchange--it's estimated that out of the 1.3 billion people living in China, only 250 million--about one in six--have benefited economically.
Altenhof believes that what's still missing are democratic reforms. He says that he was thrilled, for instance, to see Conservative MP Jason Kenney, on an official government visit to Beijing earlier this year, demonstrate his support for China's underground pro-democracy movement by paying a visit to the family of Zhao Ziyang. Zhao, a former premier of China who had implemented many of the sweeping reforms, had been excommunicated from the Communist party after expressing sympathy for the Tiannanmen protestors. He spent his final days as a pariah, and, after he died in January, Kenney personally paid tribute to Zhao by visiting his home. "If people like that can keep the pressure on Beijing, then I think everything will be OK," says Altenhof.
But that kind of pressure on Beijing is exactly what Canada's government seems desperate to avoid. Prime Minister Paul Martin castigated Kenney for his visit, claiming that he himself had chosen not to pay tribute to Zhao because the family had requested privacy--which was later proven to be false. During the January visit, Martin himself faced a barrage of criticism from human rights groups for refusing to put much pressure on his hosts over their notorious human rights abuses. He didn't even protest when the Communist party banned certain Chinese-Canadian journalists from covering Martin's visit because they had been critical of the state in the past.
"Paul Martin's opposition of a visit to the family of a deceased leader of a democratic movement within China is entirely in keeping with Paul Martin's China policy in general," says Alastair Gordon, president of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies based in Toronto. If anything, says Gordon, Martin has taken pains to coddle the Communists. "He is submitting to the will of Beijing when he denies the right of any democratically elected Taiwanese to even set foot in Canada to visit family or in transit to some other destination," says Gordon. "He submits to the will of China when he refuses to treat the Dalai Lama as a political leader, only as a religious leader, and refuses to speak about human rights with him. He is submitting to somebody's will when he approves $50 million in foreign aid to a country that has a gross domestic product of $7.4 trillion, the world's largest army, its own space program, and 700 missiles aimed at Taiwan." The fact that Canada is sending millions in relief to an undemocratic country with the fastest-growing economy on the planet--and successfully launched its first space mission in 2003--does seem odd when you consider that, on April 19, Minister of International Co-operation Aileen Carroll announced that foreign aid is being given on the basis of need and good governance.
But Martin had more pressing matters to discuss with China's Communist rulers than to nag them about executed dissidents, persecuted Christians or the systematic obliteration of Tibetan culture. There was a little matter of oil. Or rather, the big matter of oil. Before leaving Beijing, Martin had inked a multilateral trade agreement that promised the Chinese government even more kindness from Canada, specifically greater co-operation in several industries, but with an emphasis on oil and gas. "Canada and China have decided to work together to promote cooperation in the oil and gas sector, including Canada's oil sands, as well as in the uranium resources field," read a press release from the Prime Minister's office announcing the agreement. "Canada and China will therefore encourage Canadian and Chinese enterprises to develop mutually beneficial commercial partnerships in these sector" With its explosive growth--by 2020, China's GDP is expected to quadruple from its 2000 level--the Red state is thirstier than ever for resources. Across the globe, the Communist government is fanning out and buying up any available precious metals and crude oil it can lay its hands on. China now consumes about 4.956-million barrels of oil a day (about a quarter of the 19-million barrels Americans guzzle daily), with about a quarter of it imported. But economists estimate that by 2030, oil consumption in China will quadruple, far outstripping domestic production. In addition to cutting deals in oil-rich countries, such as Venezuela, Sudan and Iran, the Chinese are aware of the potential of the Alberta oilsands.
The People's Republic of China has already secured a foothold in the northern Alberta oilfields. There's Husky Energy Inc., controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa group, which recently announced it is going ahead with a $10- billion oilsands development project scheduled to be in full production by 2009. Around the same time, a new pipeline should be complete, to deliver all that oil through the Rockies to the B.C. coast, where it can be loaded onto tankers for export. The project, announced April 14, is a joint venture between Canada's largest pipeline builder, Enbridge Inc., and one of the PRC's major oil producers, Petrochina. CNOOC Ltd., another massive state-owned Chinese oil producer, made its first foray into the oilsands in April, scooping up a 17 per cent stake in Calgary-based MEG Energy Corp.
But given that Canada is situated right next to the largest energy market in the world--and the Americans are interested in the oilsands as a secure source for crude, one that comes with a lot fewer complications than relying on Mideast suppliers--some are wondering why we're so anxious to let the Chinese lock up so much of the reserves. The Communists, after all, are in the midst of an unprecedented military buildup, they're still one of the worst human rights abusers on the planet and they seem increasingly willing to draw the U.S. into a war over Taiwan if that country ever declares independence (a move that President George W. Bush has indicated he will defend).
So, what exactly is Canada's interest in providing fuel to a country that may soon represent a bigger threat to world stability than Iran or North Korea? "We're left with a foreign policy toward China that absolutely defies explanation as to how it's in regional interests, trade interests, political interests, economic interests, Canadian interests," says Gordon. Though he does think there's one explanation, unpleasant as it may be: that the politicians who devise Canadian foreign policy have their own reasons for getting close to China. "The kind of connection between those who make our China policy show that they have the potential to benefit by submitting to the will of Beijing."
Long before average Canadians like Altenhof caught on to the potential of China, Paul Martin was getting in on the ground floor. Back in the days of Chairman Mao, when China's economy was still heavily agrarian and backwardly collectivist, the future prime minister was already planting the seeds of commerce. "I first came to China in 1972, during the waning years of the Cultural Revolution. I was in business then," Martin said, in a Jan. 21 speech in Beijing. At the time, the aspiring businessman was working for Power Corporation of Canada, a firm with $16 billion in revenues controlled by Montreal's powerful Desmarais family. It was clearly an eye-opening experience because he's been making deals in China ever since. Canada Steamship Lines, the gargantuan shipping company Martin purchased from Power Corp. in the eighties, that is now run by his children, has taken advantage of China's cheap workers to build ships. Three CSL container ships were built in the Jiangnan Shipyard, controlled by the People's Liberation Army. A fourth was refurbished in Shanghai. Martin actually owns 35 per cent of China's Tangshan Jinshan Marine Co.
The Chinese interests of the Desmarais family--who have been strong financial backers of Martin's political campaigns from early in his political career--run even deeper. Power's chairman, Paul Desmarais, is the founding chairman of the Canada China Business Council, which promotes trade between the two nations. The honorary chairman is his brother, Andr? Desmarais, CEO of Power. Power Corp. has longstanding ties with one of the PRC's leading corporations, CITIC Group. As Andr? remarked at a general meeting in May 2000, "Shareholders are aware through our annual reports that for over 20 years we have had a relationship with the state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corp. of Beijing." In 1997, the relationship culminated in Power paying $358 million for a four per cent interest in the Hong Kong firm, whose interests include coal-fired power-generation facilities, automobile and food distribution concerns, hotels, shopping malls, infrastructure, and communications firms. Their primary business is in aerospace, owning a major stake in Cathay Pacific airlines and manufacturing fighter jets for the People's Liberation Army.
With a direct stake in such a broad swath of China's economy, the Desmarais surely stand to benefit from Canada's increasingly cozy relationship with the Communists in Beijing. But it's not just Martin they have to thank. It was his predecessor, Jean Chr?tien, under whom Ottawa took a distinct pro-Beijing turn. Andr? Desmarais, who sits on the board of directors of CITIC Pacific Ltd., a CITIC subsidiary, is married to Chr?tien's daughter, France. And it was in the same year that Chr?tien's son-in-law was negotiating the major investment in CITIC that Canada, for the first time in six years, withdrew its support for a UN resolution censuring China over its abysmal human rights record. Today, China is still cited by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as a major abuser of human rights, including its jailing of political opponents, persecution of religious groups and its population control measures, which include forced abortions.
But 1997 was a pivotal year for Sino-Canadian relations in other ways. It was that year that a group of investigators with the RCMP and CSIS wrapped up a probe into the systematic infiltration of Canadian society by Chinese gangs. It was dubbed Operation Sidewinder. But almost immediately after the security report that followed, titled "Chinese Intelligence Services and Triads Financial Links in Canada," was completed, CSIS ordered it destroyed. At the time, the head of CSIS was Ward Elcock. Elcock, in fact, is the nephew of Michael Pitfield, a confidant of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Pitfield co-authored the report in the early eighties that led to the creation of CSIS. Today, he is a director of Power Corp.
CSIS officials would later claim the report was destroyed because it was full of fantastical conspiracy theories. But they not only eradicated the report itself--CSIS took the unusual step of ordering all notes pertaining to the report shredded. In 1999, someone leaked one of the few surviving copies of Sidewinder to the press. The revelations were explosive: the security agents had found that PRC operatives had managed to infiltrate key sectors of the Canadian economy. Through their association and, in many cases, investments in property, technology firms and security, the spies had managed to cultivate influence in Canadian politics and our economy, while harvesting valuable information from our industries and military. One of the companies prominently identified in Sidewinder was none other than CITIC, which had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian real estate and resource companies. Sidewinder also noted that caches of arms had turned up on Canadian Indian reserves that had been manufactured by a CITIC subsidiary. Meanwhile, China's state-owned shipping firm COSCO had made the port of Vancouver its main shipping hubs. Reports from U.S. intelligence show COSCO ships have smuggled arms into the U.S., North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.
Brian McAdam, a former foreign service bureaucrat who ran Canada's immigration office in Hong Kong from 1968 to 1971, and again from 1989 to 1993, was one of the key figures whose suspicions about the PRC's infiltration of Canada led to the Sidewinder investigations. He says that in the eighties, as the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong in 1997 began to draw near, the Communists in Beijing struck a deal with the powerful Hong Kong triads--criminal organizations specializing in the international smuggling of drugs, weapons and humans. The government and the gangs would work together to exploit the West for mutual advantage. One of the primary strategies was to curry favour and influence with political leaders through large campaign donations. "They are very good at talent spotting," McAdam says, noting that Chinese agents were donating to Bill Clinton's campaigns while he was still governor of Arkansas.
In fact, the same sort of so-called conspiracy theories that characterized Sidewinder were unearthed in an American investigation into Chinese influence peddling and intelligence gathering in that country. In 1999, the Chinagate scandal rocked the Clinton presidency, when it emerged that the president had accepted large campaign contributions throughout the nineties directly or indirectly from Chinese intelligence agents. What followed, under Clinton, was a U.S. foreign policy adjusted in a way that made it easier for the Communists to get their hands on leading military technology. Defence contractors were permitted to work closely with the PLA to help advance its missile capabilities. What the Chinese couldn't get legally, they stole through a series of front companies based in the U.S. and Canada.
Detailed in an investigation headed by U.S. Representative Christopher Cox, the 1999 scandal was partly overshadowed by the disclosure of then president Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and few took notice, especially here in Canada. But many of the same figures that were identified in the Cox report were the same ones fingered by Sidewinder. Both look into the connections of Li Ka-shing, who, in addition to his Husky holdings, has invested millions in Canadian properties, banks and telecom firms. Also making appearances in both the U.S. and Canadian reports are Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho, COSCO and CITIC, which was caught making illegal contributions to Clinton's campaign.
Al Santoli, director of the Asia America Initiative and a former national security advisor in the U.S. Congress, says the Sidewinder report made a big impact in the States. "It got people to look at what was developing here in the U.S.," he says. "It was something that was systematic. It had a pattern to it. And because of the deft knowledge of the authors--and a few other reports that were coming out at that time--it drew an expanded light on what was going," Santoli says, adding that the Canadian intelligence underlined the extent to which political systems and electoral processes were being subverted. "Sidewinder put it in a contextual pattern and that was very important."
Had CSIS had its way, those details might never have come to light.  The agency's unorthodox attempts to suppress the report eventually resulted in an investigation in 2003 by Canada's Security Intelligence Review Committee, the public body that oversees CSIS. Shortly afterward, the investigation was quietly abandoned.
Coincidentally, there were several members of the SIRC board who themselves were linked to some of the names that popped up in the Sidewinder report. Former Ontario premier Bob Rae also sat on the SIRC board. Rae's brother, John, is an executive and director at Power Corp. (with its stake in CITIC). The SIRC board was headed by Paule Gauthier, who up until her first appointment to SIRC, in 1995, had spent 25 years as the corporate secretary of Power Communications, a Power subsidiary. Power Corp's links to CITIC are mentioned in the Sidewinder report, under "Case Studies."
Exactly how much influence the Chinese nationals named in Sidewinder managed to procure in Canada remains uncertain; the probe was originally intended to be a starting point to stimulate further investigation. What is known is that Li Ka-shing has been a supporter of Martin's, with Husky donating $10,000 to the prime minister's leadership campaign in 2003 and another $10,000 from Li-controlled firm Concord Pacific Group Inc. (Li, who is one of the most powerful men in Asia, has said the accusations that he is working for the Communists are nonsense.) According to documents obtained through the Access to Information Act, Martin had several meetings with Li Ka-shing during a 1995 trip to Hong Kong when he was still finance minister. The substance of those meetings however, remains a mystery, as nearly every detail in the minutes of the meeting relating to Li has been blacked out by the government, with notes indicating that the information was highly sensitive and pertained to national security. In other words, Li, a foreign national, was privy to a meeting where things were discussed that are now considered too sensitive for Canadian citizens to hear. Meanwhile Li, whose companies make up an estimated 15 per cent of the capitalization of the Hong Kong stock exchange, is alleged, in intelligence documents, to work closely with the Chinese government. According to the Sidewinder report: "On 23 May, 1982, Li Ka-shing and [Triad boss] Henry Fok met with [PRC leaders] Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang in Beijing to discuss the future of the peninsula. Their task would be to advise and educate the Chinese authorities on the basic rules of capitalism. In return, Beijing would give them privileged access to the Chinese economic basin."
Martin's predecessor, Jean Chr?tien, who was prime minister at the time Sidewinder was ordered suppressed, has links to Li as well. While on one of his few hiatuses from politics, between 1986 and 1990, Chr?tien sat on the board of Gordon Capital--a company run by Li Ka-shing's son, Richard Li--and personally brokered deals between Gordon Capital and Power Corp. The investment bank became the focus of mini-scandal in 1995, when Gordon won the federal contract to take Petro-Canada public, shocking the Bay Street business community, which expected the multimillion-dollar deal would go to a larger, more experienced Canadian firm.
At the time Martin was with Power Corp., he got his start working for Maurice Strong. Strong, the former head of PetroCanada, who remains a senior adviser to Martin today and is a member of the Privy Council, never lost his enthusiasm for the Chinese commercial market. A multimillionaire--though he is an avowed socialist, his personal motto being, "Think like a socialist, act like a capitalist"--Strong, an honorary director of the Canada China Business Council, has family ties to the Communist state. According to a story told to Elaine Dewar in the Strong biography, Cloak of Green, Strong's cousin was the famous American Marxist writer Anna Louise Strong. After she eventually moved to China, becoming a member of the Comintern, Anna was held in such high esteem by the Maoists that when she died, in 1970, her funeral was personally arranged by former Chinese premier and communist hero Chou En-lai.
Today, Maurice--who some wags have not coincidentally dubbed "Chairman Mo"--also spends much of his time in Beijing, where he keeps an office. That is, when he's not working alongside Secretary General Kofi Annan at the UN, as his special adviser and personal envoy. (In April, Strong stepped aside as the UN special envoy to North Korea after the investigators into the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal revealed he had ties to a Korean accused of bribing UN officials.) He has also been hired as a business consultant to the government of the Chinese province of Anhui. Currently, Strong is working with Anhui to help develop its Chery automobile industry, and has also been hired by former New Brunswick sports car impresario Malcolm Bricklin, who plans to export the Chery to North American markets.
But perhaps Strong's most lasting legacy will be the Kyoto Accord, which is considered to be largely his brainchild, emerging from recommendation from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which Strong chaired. And the Chinese should be grateful for it. The accord, while binding the hands of western countries like Canada, by forcing them to lower greenhouse gas emissions, could turn out to be a windfall for the Communists. China, one of the world's worst polluters, thanks to its massive coal burning industries, is not only exempt from achieving any Kyoto targets, it is permitted to sell so-called offset credits, that is, gas allowances it doesn't use, to regulated nations, such as Canada, for millions, perhaps billions of dollars. Canada can also gain greenhouse credits through a process called "joint implementation," whereby Ottawa pays to construct power plants in countries like China that are more efficient than existing infrastructure. In the $10-billion Kyoto plan unveiled in April, the Liberals specified that Canada will both utilize offset credits and joint implementation strategies to meet its Kyoto targets. Meanwhile, companies in China unbound by emissions limits, such as CITIC's electrical generation and manufacturing interests, can only expect to gain more competitive advantage over their North American peers.
While western governments such as Canada's have been taking pains to act as multilaterally as they can, by signing on to agreements such as Kyoto, political observers point out that China plays by a different set of rules. Even if Beijing had sold off all of its carbon emissions credits, it's unlikely it would ever feel obliged to limit its own carbon emissions and risk stifling its thundering economic growth. After all, the Communists routinely flout all sorts of international agreements, from human rights codes to trade rules. "China has proven that despite all the promises it made when it joined the World Trade Organization and everything else, it has no intention whatsoever in being a good international corporate citizen," says the American Foreign Policy Council's Santioli.
If anything, the country that Ottawa seems so eager to do business with is becoming more menacing every year. William Hawkins, senior fellow in National Security Studies at Washington's U.S. Business and Industry Council Education Foundation, visited China last November on a fact-finding tour. He stayed in a CITIC-owned hotel in Zhuhai where the company was promoting a nearby air show, displaying large models of its fighter jets in the lobby. Hawkins remembers the chilling sight of hotel porters dressed like the jet fighter's ground crew and the women behind the front desk decked out like fighter pilots. "So far, Chinese reform has moved from communism to fascism," says Hawkins. "You still have the party running things, but you've just changed the economic system. It's directed capitalism, national capitalism." While the Cold War was fought with the understanding that the Soviet economic system was unworkable, and would eventually collapse on itself, "a China with a booming economy is going to be a much bigger challenge than Communist Russia was," says Hawkins. "China is using its gains from trade to build and finance the next great world power whose ambitions and values are different from ours."
John Thompson, director of the Toronto-based MacKenzie Institute, a security think-tank, says China "scares the hell" out of him--more so, even, than Arab terrorists. "After the jihadists they are the big security threat," says Thompson. "The jihadists are noisy and in our face, but in the long run they are not our real threat. They can be an inconvenience, but if they ever really goad us sufficiently we'll be sorry about what we did to them, but they won't be around. China is the emerging security threat. They are going to give us as severe a challenge as the Nazis and the Fascists in the 1940s."
Washington seems to be taking the signals coming from China--from its huge military buildup to its rocket launches--as that the Communists are jockeying to become the world's second superpower, if not the first, and are warning allies to stop abetting the enemy. In April, the U.S. Department of Defence banned Israel from participating in a massive air force project after Israel agreed to help the Chinese army upgrade its unmanned drones. A few weeks earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke out against a plan by European countries to lift a 15-year ban on arms sales to China, warning that the weapons may one day be used against America. "It is the United States--not Europe--that has defended the Pacific," Rice told a news conference. "The European Union should do nothing to contribute to a circumstance in which Chinese military modernization draws on European technology or even the political decision to suggest that it could draw on European technology."
Rice's comments came just days before she paid a visit to the Red state. While there, she made a point of attending a service at one of the officially atheist nation's few legal churches, as a sign of protest against the Communists' suppression of religious freedoms. It's that kind of public pro-democratic gesture, the sort that Paul Martin scrupulously avoided on his Beijing visit, that optimists like Norm Altenhof hope will pressure the Chinese to reform their fascist state. In the meantime, Martin and those who surround him seem to prefer that things in China stay just the way they are.