Tuesday, May 31, 2016
KevImages)Much of China's snooping is aimed at gaining industrial or technological advantage
The Chinese government is not Canada’s friend. It is a hostile, aggressive ill-mannered power and should be treated as such, as politely as possible but as firmly as necessary.
A recent report indicated that Ottawa would reject permanent resident applications from a number of employees of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, apparently due to fear they would operate as spies for Beijing. It is impossible to judge the report without additional knowledge of the details, which are not available: Immigration Minister John McCallum professed himself unaware of the matter ; Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale refused to comment on operational questions of national security. But there is no question that China engages in espionage on a massive scale in Canada and elsewhere.
Chinese cyber-espionage is infamous, massive and state-sponsored, including the “61398” military outfit indicted in the U.S. last year. While some Chinese activities are aimed at stealing military secrets or finding infrastructure vulnerabilities to exploit in time of conflict, much of it is used to prop up a faltering, centrally planned system incapable of innovation. And it’s not just cyber-espionage.
The regime sends students and workers abroad to target specific industries, technologies and products and rip them off. And while Huawei is nominally employee-owned, in China everything belongs to the state and is bent to its purposes.
If the report is accurate, it’s commendable that Ottawa seems willing to act in this matter, because we have all become so used to belligerent dishonesty from Beijing that we often treat it as normal. Indeed, the conventional wisdom is that the West must learn to kowtow to the rising power in the East. That is definitely what the Chinese politburo and increasingly assertive Xi Jinping — China’s president and maximum leader — are trying to make us do.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickThe Naive Justin Trudeau meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on Nov. 16, 2015.
This is a matter where Foreign Minister Stephane Dion’s policy of “responsible conviction” must place its emphasis on “conviction.” China’s belligerent disregard of international law extends into environmental matters of profound concern to Canadians, from illegal overfishing that is devastating ocean ecosystems off Africa to illegal trade in ivory, rhino horns and other products from endangered species.
The Chinese government maintains sufficient distance from most of this nefarious conduct to claim to be uninvolved and unaware. But it’s a flimsy pretence. And indeed, the point is not to deceive but to humiliate —to make us complicit in the deception, to mouth lies knowing they are lies, to play along with the dishonesty.
Sometimes the veil is forced aside, as with Beijing’s clumsily aggressive efforts to claim much of the South China Sea for itself by sending its expanding navy as well as fishing boats into contested waters and daring anyone to object, even when military or “civilian” vessels intentionally come into excessively close contact with Western military ships and planes.
Well, we should object. Why should Russia or Syria be sanctioned, and China be appeased, feted and even, as the Ontario government did with Huawei, given subsidies to extend its tentacles further into our economy?
We know it. And they know we know it. So if we pretend otherwise, to “facilitate business” or “to get along,” that is, from greed or fear, they have induced us to become complicit in our own defeat and degradation. It won’t make us rich, it won’t make us safe, and it’s disgraceful.
The federal government should stick to its stand on spies, and take a firmer position on much else besides with this aggressive, duplicitous regime.
China set for court ruling as US sends
confusing signals on South China Sea
China’s takeover of the South China Sea is nearly complete and Beijing is now stepping up its sophisticated information warfare campaign in preparation for an expected unfavorable ruling from an international tribunal affecting its island claims.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to rule within the next few weeks on an appeal from the Philippines challenging the legality of China’s claim to maritime sovereignty over most of the South China Sea under its ill-defined “Nine-Dash Line” over 90% of the sea.
The Philippines, in early 2013, brought its case to the court, asserting that the Chinese maritime zone is illegal because it violates the 2006 UN Convention on the Law of Sea that sets out exclusive economic zones and territorial waters.
China’s response was to refuse to take part, based on asserting Beijing’s questionable historical claims over the sea stretching back to the Ming dynasty that ended in 1624.
An indicator of the Chinese reaction to the court was on display in The Hague on Saturday. China’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Wu Ken, used the official Xinhua news agency to denounce the pending decision – even before it was announced.
“China will not accept an invalid arbitral award. Abuses of international law and a hegemonic mentality have no place in any [South China Sea] dispute,” Wu said. “Such an arbitration should not be recognized or supported in any manner.”
Wu went further and accused the United States of influencing the court to rule in Manila’s favor.
The Chinese propaganda themes on the sea dispute include the false narratives that all the islands are and were Chinese territory; that the court is an abuse of the legal process; and that the court lacks jurisdiction because China refused to take part in the arbitration.
The ‘Three Warfares’
The legal abuse claim is especially noteworthy since it has been a tool in China’s information warfare repertoire for decades. China has used legal warfare to achieve strategic objectives, along with psychological warfare and media warfare – dubbed China’s soft power “Three Warfares.”
The strategic goal of China in the South China Sea are to solidify control over the waters without firing a shot, in much the same way as Russia was able to do with its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in March 2014. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) refers to this as the use of “military soft power.”
“Military soft power is not only a major factor in ‘fighting and defeating the enemy,’ but even more so it is a factor in ‘defeating the enemy without fighting,’” states the 2010 PLA book “Research on Military Soft Power.”
Since China began in earnest to build up disputed islands and reefs in the strategic waterway several years ago, Beijing also has carried out an international propaganda and influence campaign designed to sway world public opinion that its actions are not aggressive or destabilizing.
Nations within the region, a strategic bridge between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and a major trading route, have turned to the United States for support in the sea dispute.
Little US push back
President Obama and his administration for the most part have done little to push back – both from a counter- information warfare standpoint as well as through shows of military support – against China’s gradual hegemony.
The administration at first seemed to ignore the Chinese buildup that is focused on a triangle of strategic bases starting in the Paracels, in the northern part of the sea where China’s claims clash with those of Vietnam, and two sets of islands in the southern Spratlys, located close to US defense treaty ally Philippines and claimed by Manila.
In recent months, after the PLA gradually began adding missiles and warplanes on some of the new islands, the US government response has suffered from a series of confusing and mixed signals sent to the Chinese.
American naval freedom of navigation operations have been relatively few – three since October – and surveillance flights have been sporadic as well, often resulting in unsafe Chinese aerial intercepts that resulted in no public protests, and little comment from the Pentagon.
American strategic messaging has been more problematic, hampered by apparent White House fears of offending or upsetting China and disrupting US-China trade and business ties.
The furthest any senior US official has gone in criticizing China are Defense Secretary Ash Carter comments in recent weeks that the United States is fine with China’s modernization but not its bad behavior in the South China Sea, behavior he and other senior officials have failed to clearly spell out.
Also indicative of the mixed signals were the recent comments by President Barack Obama in Hanoi when he failed to even mention China in telling an audience that big nations should not bully smaller ones. He later undercut his own remarks by asserting that closer US-Vietnam ties were not aimed at China.
Meanwhile, China’s state-run media has gone into full anti-American mode in recent days accusing America of building closer ties with Vietnam as part of a Cold War-style effort to “contain” China’s rise — as the White House and State Department seem to back even further down from criticizing China, claiming falsely that the US military pivot to Asia and bolstering alliances across the region had nothing to do with Chinese aggression and coercion.
Asked Tuesday about China warning that United States not to trigger a regional war, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters, “first of all, this is not about China. Nothing that we did here or are doing here is focused on China.”
Kerry then claimed the Obama administration consistently urged China to respect the rule of law and engage diplomatically without taking unilateral steps, something China appears to be ignoring.
Will China step up actions?
Commenting on China’s state-run media asserting that the South China Sea dispute could escalate into a conflict, Kerry cautioned China not to “unilaterally move to engage in reclamation activities and militarization of islands and areas that are part of the claims that are in contest today.”
But in the next sentence the secretary asserted that the United States has no position on the Chinese hegemony. “China should note that. We’re not saying China is wrong in its claims; we’re simply saying, resolve it peacefully, resolve it through a rules-based structure,” he said.
With no clear indication from senior US leaders that China is wrong in its South China Sea claims, the message to Beijing is loud and clear: China has no worry from a weak US administration in taking over the sea.
In fact the perceived weakness could spur China to step up its South China Sea activities in anticipation that its free ride will end with the inauguration of a new US president in January.
Bill Gertz is a journalist and author who has spent decades covering defense and national security affairs. He is the author of six national security books. Contact him on Twitter at @BillGertz
Michael Smyth: How did notorious tycoon so easily end up getting red-carpet treatment?
BY MICHAEL SMYTH, THE PROVINCE JUNE 30, 2014
That’s what the federal government is admitting now after last week’s column on Steven Law, a controversial Burmese businessman officially blacklisted by the United States but welcomed warmly to Canada this month.
Law was part of an Asian trade delegation hosted by Abbotsford MP Ed Fast, the federal minister of international trade. The trade mission travelled to Toronto and Vancouver, where delegates met with Premier Christy Clark and B.C. cabinet minister Teresa Wat.
Law is a “Specially Designated National” in the United States, meaning his U.S. assets are frozen by the federal government and American citizens are banned from doing business with him.
The reason: The U.S. Treasury Department says he was part of a criminal narcotics empire once controlled by his late father and he was a key supporter of Burma’s former military dictators, condemned around the world for appalling human-rights infractions.
Law does not face similar economic sanctions in Canada, but the government still admits it was a mistake to roll out the red carpet for him.
“Canadian immigration officials failed to do their job properly screening this individual under our immigration laws,” said Adam Hodge, press secretary for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
Fast’s office is also upset Law was let in.
“The fact that this individual entered Canada concerns us,” said Shannon Gutoskie, Fast’s press secretary.
Steven Law’s late father, Lo Hsing Han, was one of the most powerful heroin dealers in the world. According to The Economist magazine, he specialized in peddling ultra-pure “China White” heroin, all with the approval of the former military junta that ruthlessly ruled Burma.
“Lo Hsing Han, known as the ‘Godfather of Heroin,’ has been one of the world’s key heroin traffickers dating back to the early 1970s,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in 2010 statement.
“Steven Law joined his father’s drug empire in the 1990s and has since become one of the wealthiest individuals in Burma.”
Law arrived in Canada on June 1, travelling with the official Burmese delegation. He attended official events in Toronto and a luncheon in Vancouver hosted by Teresa Wat, B.C.’s minister of international trade.
The B.C. government said Law did not sit with Wat at lunch, but she may have met him at the event, which included representatives of 10 Asian countries. The government says Premier Christy Clark did not meet Law, though Clark did attend a trade-mission event.
“The province takes care to ensure it is meeting with appropriate government or business representatives,” the B.C. government said in a statement.
“In this particular case, the responsibility for identification, recruitment and vetting of the business delegation for a pan-Canadian visit that included a stop in B.C., resided with the federal government.”
Officials said Law came to Canada using his Chinese name, Lo Ping Zhong. He identified himself as representing a small mining company, and not Asia World, the giant and powerful business conglomerate he controls.