Operation Fox Hunt is targeting Chinese communities in Canada

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officials recently told Canadian media that Beijing regularly uses undercover national security officials and “trusted agents” or third parties to target members of Canada’s Chinese community in an effort to silence dissenters, including threats of retaliation against their families in China.

According to Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officials, these illegal activities in Canada are part of a global campaign of intimidation by the Chinese and pose a threat to Canadian sovereignty and the safety of Canadians. The most high-profile of these activities is Operation Fox Hunt, which has been ongoing since 2014. Earlier, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced on October 28 that they had indicted eight people for acting as agents of China and participating in Operation Fox Hunt in the United States, five of whom were arrested. The U.S. government accuses Beijing of illegally enforcing the law and monitoring and harassing U.S. citizens and permanent residents on U.S. soil. This is reportedly the first time that the United States has prosecuted individuals involved in Operation Fox Hunt.

According to the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has also spoken out on the same issue, publicly acknowledging for the first time that China has used threats and intimidation tactics against members of Canada’s Chinese community similar to those used in Operation Fox Hunt. John Townsend, head of media relations for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), told the newspaper that while China may be trying to coerce some fugitive criminals to return home, “these tactics can also be used as cover to silence dissent, pressure political opponents, and instill a general fear of state power, no matter where a person is located. “. Townsend was responding to the agency’s question about Operation Fox Hunt and whether it has the same national security concerns that FBI Director Christopher Wray has expressed.

In a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., in July, Christopher Wray argued that China’s “Operation Fox Hunt” is a blatant threat to widely established norms and the rule of law. He said, “Since 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping has led a ‘fox hunt’ that, in the name of fighting corruption, has actually been aimed at capturing Chinese citizens from overseas and abroad whom he perceives as threats, including political opponents, dissidents, and those seeking to expose massive human rights abuses in China. Critics.” He also referred to the targets of Operation Fox Hunt as “victims” and said that the tactics used by the Chinese Government to force them to return to China were “appalling”.

“Certain foreign governments often attempt to threaten and intimidate individuals around the world through various government agencies and unofficial agents. These countries, such as the People’s Republic of China, may use a combination of their intelligence and security services and trusted agents to assist them in various forms of threatening activities,” Townsend said. He urged Chinese citizens and Chinese-Canadians to report any perceived threats or intimidation to Canadian authorities.

Townsend added, “Importantly, when foreign countries target members of the Canadian community, these individuals, for a variety of reasons, may not have the means to protect themselves or may not be aware that they can report these activities to Canadian authorities. The fear of state-sponsored or state-related reprisals against them and their loved ones, both in Canada and abroad, may force individuals to succumb to foreign interference.” He said, “When individuals in Canada are harassed, manipulated or intimidated by foreign countries to gain support or silence criticism of their policies, these activities pose a threat to Canada’s sovereignty and the safety of Canadians.” Townsend declined to say how many members of the Chinese community in Canada have been targeted by Fox Hunt.

In a separate statement, the RCMP said it was aware of Chinese operations in Canada, adding that “at this time, the RCMP has not made any allegations” of threats of foreign influence covered by information security laws, according to the report. For its part, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) could not say how many Chinese nationals had been removed from Canada. Richard Fadden, former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said it’s worth noting that the service is publicly acknowledging what has been a major national security issue for Canada for years. “The Chinese authorities are very active. They’re very sophisticated. They have almost unlimited resources, especially since there’s quite a large Chinese diaspora in Canada,” he said.

A former department official said Chinese officials have made a habit of booking meetings with government ministries in Canada, but scheduling those appointments with days or weeks of stay between meetings. This leaves time for Chinese visitors to visit and intimidate Chinese citizens living in Canada, it said.

Richard Kurland, an immigration lawyer in Vancouver, said such intimidation by China on Canadian soil has now become “standard operating procedure.” In response, Fadden said it can be difficult to bring criminal charges in these cases, but the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP can stop the intimidation tactics if people come forward with complaints. “Both CSIS and the RCMP can make it very clear that we’re targeting them and they’d better stop. I expect in most cases they’ll stop and leave.” He said. “Unless people who are approached, harassed or intimidated complain, and they rarely do, it’s hard to get a handle on it.”

In a heavily redacted report released in March, the Canadian Parliament’s National Security and Intelligence Committee noted that the RCMP had cooperated with China’s Operation Fox Hunt to facilitate their requests for police and prosecutors to travel to Canada to contact fugitives identified by the Chinese, according to the report. However, the commission said, “over time, the RCMP have imposed increasingly stringent criteria for Chinese investigators to come to Canada.”