Adam Zivo: Why do the Liberals keep invoking Beijing’s talking points?
From accusations of racism, to conflating Taiwan with China, this is getting a bit bizarre.
By: Adam Zivo
For the past month, damning intelligence leaks to the press have indicated that Beijing made concerted efforts to meddle into Canadian democracy and, worse yet, the Trudeau government was aware of this and did little, if anything, to stop it. Rather than take responsibility for their mistakes, the Liberals have instead minimized or misrepresented the issue. In the process, both they and their most partisan supporters have developed an unsettling habit of parroting Beijing’s talking points.
The most striking example of this has been Trudeau’s attempts to conflate criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with racism. When news broke that Han Dong, a Liberal MP, had allegedly been a witting beneficiary of CCP assistance during the 2019 election, Trudeau dismissed these reports as “anti-Asian racism” and condemned any accusations of dual loyalty. (Dong himself denies the accusations.)
However, criticism of a government (or its collaborators) is clearly not the same as criticism of an ethnicity — and Dong is clearly not just some random Chinese-Canadian. According to leaked reports from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), as reported by Global News, Beijing’s proxies bussed in Chinese seniors and international students to support Dong’s 2019 nomination as a Liberal candidate. Supporters were given fake addresses that allowed them to vote in Dong’s race; students were told that their visas depended on their participation.
While there have been many instances when accusations of dual loyalty were steeped in racism, it’s obvious that this is not one of them. When there is evidence that a Canadian is receiving clandestine, illegal aid from a foreign government, that absolutely should invite scrutiny, regardless of the ethnicity of the Canadian involved.
Further, Trudeau’s comments were not only intellectually dishonest, they affirmed one of Beijing’s favourite talking points
China likes to shield itself from international criticism by fraudulently invoking racism. For example, when the U.S. signed bills supporting Hong Kong’s 2019 protest movement in 2019, Beijing responded by accusing the Trump administration of “racial discrimination” — nevermind the fact that the bill’s beneficiaries, Hong Kongers, were Chinese. That same year, China accused Canada of “white supremacy” after Ottawa pushed Beijing to release the Two Michaels.
These attempts to equate criticism of the CCP with anti-Asian racism fundamentally rest on two offensive assumptions. First: that all Asian people are Chinese. Second: that all Chinese people support the Beijing government. Neither claim is true. Both erase sizeable communities that have experienced horrific abuse from Beijing itself.
Take, for example, Canada’s Uyghur community, which is currently the victim of an ongoing, Beijing-led cultural genocide in East Turkestan (known in China as “Xinjiang”). Uyghur dissidents speak of mass surveillance and repression. By some estimates, at least one million Uyghurs have been interned in Chinese “re-education camps.”
Beijing has often tried to intimidate and harass Canadian Uyghur activists into silence. In some cases, that has meant the murder or imprisonment of relatives back home.
These activists allege that this harassment is abetted by CCP agents operating within Canada. Does that make them racist?
Despite Uyghur lobbying, the Liberal party has been oddly complacent about the genocide, with Han Dong being particularly unhelpful. Dong was absent from two key parliamentary votes condemning China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, despite being present for votes immediately before and after.
It must be investigated whether China’s meddling influenced these outcomes — to ignore this angle would mean abandoning the Uyghurs, an Asian community, to state-based harassment.
Similar intimidation campaigns have been reported by Chinese dissidents, primarily those associated with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement. Like the Uyghurs, these activists allege that they have been targeted by CCP agents operating in Canada. When the Toronto Star canvassed Chinese-Canadian community leaders, the majority of respondents wanted more government action against Beijing’s meddling and bullying, which has reportedly left many Chinese-Canadians afraid of speaking up out of fear of retribution.
Protecting these Chinese-Canadians from state-organized attacks should not be smeared as anti-Asian racism.
This also isn’t the first time that Asian-Canadian communities have been irked by specious Liberal accusations of racism. In 2021, Trudeau implied that the Conservatives, by criticizing China’s potential role in the COVID-19 pandemic, were stoking anti-Asian hate. The comment drew condemnation from Asian-Canadians.
"Folks who claim to be standing up against anti-Asian hatred and racism, please, listen to your constituents and Asian voices," said Tibetan activist Chemi Lhamo, who added that, "As an Asian woman, there is a bigger target on my back, and conflating the idea of anti-CCP with anti-Asian is actually a much bigger disrespect."
Rukiye Turdush of the Uyghur Research Institute concurred. He called Trudeau “confused” and said that, "If we're against the CCP, it doesn't mean we're against the Chinese people. It has nothing to do with anti-Asian racism. I really didn't get why he said that."
Or, take this weird little example. Recently, an extreme Liberal partisan tweeted that Pierre Poilievre is a hypocrite for criticizing the Liberals about Chinese influence because the Conservative leader “accepted over $21,000 in free travel for him and girlfriend to visit China.” The tweet went viral, with 2,000 likes and over 150,000 views. The problem, however, was that Poilievre had visited Taiwan, not China.
Taiwan is a democratic country with an ethnically Chinese population. The two countries are not only distinct, they are geopolitical enemies. Taiwan has spent decades trying to avoid being violently conquered by Beijing, which claims that Taiwan is only a rogue province. China’s attacks on Taiwan are built upon the erasure of Taiwan’s distinct legal and cultural identity — so it’s utterly bizarre to see Liberals embracing this talking point to the detriment of the Taiwanese.
When it was pointed out that conflating China and Taiwan is offensive to the Taiwanese, the tweet’s author said: “Try telling that to China!” — because the CCP is apparently a greater authority on Taiwan than the Taiwnese themselves. The commentary seemed to offend many Chinese-Canadians. Ai-Men Lau, from Alliance Canada Hong Kong, called the comparison “obtuse” and “incorrect.”
Of course, people make dumb tweets all the time, but the fact that this tweet went viral, at a moment when Liberal partisans were desperately scrambling to deflect from their own leader’s actions, is notable. Hyper-partisanship can lead people to all sorts of dark places — but throwing Asian communities under the bus, while making hollow condemnations of anti-Asian racism, is not a good look for anyone. It’s particularly bizarre to watch Liberals, of all people, defend themselves by stealing their crib notes from Beijing.
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