May 28, 2024

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Dozens of Chinese nationals in Canada were forced to return to China

Dozens of Chinese nationals in Canada were forced to return to China

Dozens of Chinese nationals in Canada have been forced to return to China because of harassment from Beijing agents or direct attacks on their families.

At least 12,000 people from 120 countries suffered the fate between 2014 and 2023, without knowing if they were really guilty of the crimes they were accused of, a disturbing report from Spanish non-governmental defense watchdogs reveals.

Of this number, the organization was able to formally identify 283 people, including 27 who were forced to leave Canada, from the Chinese government's open sources.

“We believe there are more cases and efforts than that, of course. »

“These 27 cases have only been identified based on the Chinese campaign,” said Laura Harth, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense.

How many of these 27 cases took place in Quebec is difficult to ascertain from the open sources we consulted, but at least one of the nationals forced to leave Canada arrived in China by plane from Montreal.

Until kidnapping

Over the past decade, China has launched several operations (Fox Hunt, Skynet) aimed at tracking down fugitives from around the world and forcing them to face Chinese justice.

China, however, recalled the security guards in its report as a country known for “absence of independent judicial authority and serious, widespread and systematic human rights violations”.

To achieve its goals, China has resorted to extradition for serious activities such as smuggling, particularly through Interpol Red Notices.

Only three weeks left in Canada

In its report released on Monday, the organization Security Guardians detailed several cases of Chinese nationals being forced to return to China. Here we reproduce a translation of a case in an unspecified province in Canada in 2015.

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“Kang Xianzhen, from Yantai City, Jifu District, Shandong Province, is reuniting with her son who fled to Canada on June 8, 2015 to continue his studies there. He was suspected of fraud [par les autorités chinoises].

Within days, the Zhifu Public Security Department was mobilized. Kong's hometown associate is subject to continuous communications. Kong had enough precedent to understand how his son's education and future career would be completely ruined if he didn't return immediately.

This intense pressure paid off. Kong's partner relented and convinced Kong to return to China. On June 23, three weeks after his escape, Kang surrendered to Chinese authorities. […]

Not once, but twice, prosecutors referred Kang's case to the Public Safety Bureau, citing unclear facts and insufficient evidence.

After more than six years of legal uncertainty, on September 3, 2001, the Public Safety Bureau was forced to drop its case.

Kang told the media that a simple financial dispute between the company's shareholders had turned into an economic crime allegation. A charge that made him a target of manhunt and subject to an Interpol* red notice.

Source: Chasing Fox Hunt: Uncovering PRC Forced Return Operations Around the World, Protecting Protectors.
*A Red Notice is a request by a country to Interpol that all countries assist in locating and arresting an individual with the intention of extraditing them to their country of origin.

For the 27 cases identified in Canada, Chinese agents allegedly used different methods to “persuade them to return.”

“These coercive methods […] Online surveillance, threats and harassment, surveillance, repeated interrogations and visits by family members in China, punishment of relatives in China or […] Targeted harassment overseas by (undisclosed) agents of the People's Republic of China,” the report said.

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Canada's inaction

Security advocates say governments, including Canada's, must act more proactively to stop Chinese nationals living in fear of retaliation from Beijing.

During hearings at a public inquiry into foreign interference held in Ottawa in recent weeks, representatives of various diaspora groups, particularly the Uyghur diaspora, said they have been subjected to years of oppression and harassment by agents of the Chinese government.

“What we see clearly at the public inquiry is that the conversation about foreign intervention has begun in Canada. »

“But this is only the beginning. […] Identify those who are carrying out repressive measures in Canada. We found members of the diaspora refused to participate in investigations into interference because they did not feel safe enough to testify. It shows how much more needs to be done,” says Laura Harth.

Last year, security guards revealed to the world the alleged presence of Chinese “police stations” in some fifty countries, specifically targeting nationals and forcing them to return to China.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police later launched an investigation. In particular, he suspects that two Quebec community centres, the Chinese Family Service of Greater Montreal and the Center Sino-Québec de la Rive-Sud, are said to be “police stations”, which the latter have formally denied.

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