Chinese Consulates task Chinese students in aggressive intelligence ops: Canadian intelligence
The Bureau's exclusive investigative series finds Chinese student associations are a dominant force in Beijing's election interference and attacks on political figures
Beijing’s top diplomats in Canada are tasking and likely funding Chinese student associations in aggressive intelligence operations that include “monitoring and coercing” other students and university officials, Canadian intelligence documents allege.
According to CSIS investigations, these operations include a Consul General tasking Chinese students to investigate and gather intelligence on the family of an alleged Chinese economic fugitive.
The allegations are disclosed in a June 2019 “Canadian Eyes Only” draft report for Prime Minister Trudeau produced by NSICOP, a bipartisan intelligence review body.
The document, reviewed exclusively by The Bureau, describes how Chinese diplomats in Canada have deeply infiltrated campuses, cleverly leveraging the protected spaces of higher education to attack the nation’s democratic and economic institutions.
“They seek to utilize the open and innovative features of these institutions to further their own objectives, which include interference activities but also other actions with hostile intent (e.g. espionage and intellectual property theft),” the NSICOP report says.
Russian officials are also interfering in Canada, NSICOP says, using “proxies” in universities to foster narratives in support of Moscow’s aggressions against Ukraine.
But the report’s most significant revelations, add greater clarity to an emerging picture of the co-conspirators and organization Beijing is employing to subvert elections and threaten politicians on Canadian soil, while underlining The Bureau’s findings, that Trudeau’s administration has long known of China’s increasing threats, without countering the damage.
Foreign interference, according to Canada’s intelligence and that of Australia and New Zealand, mainly works by targeting diaspora communities and using proxies to complete hostile tasks that undermine democracies.
In Canada, unfortunately, Chinese students have become a major proxy force in Communist Party schemes.
The June 2019 NSICOP document says the “state actors” in Beijing’s hybrid attacks on Canada include Chinese diplomats, military and intelligence operatives and United Front Work units, but also "non-government assets” including “the media, Chinese student associations, academics.”