Canadian Environment Minister tied to NGO in Beijing that could "serve influence purposes": report
Minister's planned trip to Beijing could come with risks author says
A green NGO in Beijing that Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault holds an executive position with, and plans to visit later this month, could be “exploiting foreign government officials,” in Chinese influence operations, according to a report from the Jamestown Foundation.
On Wednesday, the Canadian Press reported Guilbeault will travel to China on a “diplomatic mission” and his office confirmed Guilbeault will meet the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) while in Beijing.
Guilbeault is also listed as executive vice chair of CCICED, which claims to be a “high-level advisory body created in 1992” to foster ties between China and other nations on environmental issues, and receives funding from Canada.
However, in a September 2022 report for the Washington, D.C.-based Jamestown Foundation, researcher Filip Jirouš raises concerns that CCICED is managed by senior Chinese Communist Party cadres and “many of its advisors and council members have backgrounds in influence operations.”
The report, called Make the Green Serve China: PRC Influence Operations Target International Environmentalism, says CCICED is the main body among “United Front Umbrella Organizations” used by Beijing to influence other states under the guise of cooperation on environmental issues.
“The presence of [PRC officials from influence organs] suggests that CCICED also serves influence purposes, exploiting foreign government officials and NGO heads (including the Canadian minister of environment) — who are given what appear to be mere token positions on the council — for green-washing propaganda,” the report says.
It adds that in China international NGOs are controlled under national security laws by the Ministry of Public Security, “a security organ engaged in intelligence and counter-intelligence operations.”