Beijing's control of media in Canada enabled election interference: CSIS documents
The Bureau's exclusive investigation finds senior Chinese official allegedly instructed journalists in Toronto to support the rise of a federal politician
China’s election interference and political influence in Canada has been enabled by Beijing’s covert “takeover” of Chinese-language media, plus sophisticated, massively-funded schemes targeting mainstream outlets and seeking to control “key media entities” according to intelligence documents.
These clandestine operations have involved threats against journalists, the documents say, but also inducements, such as benefits offered by Vancouver’s Chinese Consulate to cultivate “key editors, producers and high-ranking managers.”
While the Trudeau Government faces a crisis of public confidence after intelligence leaks alleged Chinese diplomats directed funds clandestinely into Canada’s 2019 federal election, this new documentation adds another layer of concern, outlining Beijing’s overarching strategy to subvert democracy using Canada’s free press.
Beijing’s ultimate objective is influencing Canadian media to help elect politicians friendly towards the Chinese Communist Party and promoting reporting that favours its interests, the documents say.
In one shocking example, according to a Canadian official with direct knowledge, CSIS found a senior Chinese Consular official in Toronto assembled numerous Chinese-language reporters and allegedly instructed them to secretly support a particular politician that Beijing wants to rise within Canada’s federal government.
The Bureau’s investigation of these new allegations involves reviews of four independent sets of national security records and corroborating interviews with sources including Chinese-language journalists that cannot be named due to concerns for their personal safety and their families.
One reporter, however, stepped forward.
Former Vancouver-based newspaper editor Victor Ho, who is anonymously cited in a CSIS document reviewed for this story, confirmed CSIS’s chief allegations.
Asked whether he agrees the Chinese Communist Party is secreting money into election interference networks and using Canadian media to support Beijing’s chosen candidates, Ho said: “That is exactly the case.”
“The CCP weaponizes the Chinese media to gain election intervention,” Ho said. “To do this, the Chinese Consulates in Canada make every effort to influence the top Chinese editing teams in Canada.”