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Claws of the Panda: Canadian Journalist Warns of China’s Influence and Infiltration

At a time of tense relations between Canada and China, Jonathan Manthorpe, a long time a foreign correspondent and international affairs columnist, published a new book on February 2, “Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada.” The book portrays how the Chinese Communist Party has used a number of different means to infiltrate Canada and other Western countries.

Manthorpe said that Canada has had wrong expectations of China over the past 40 years. He said that Canada has two major blind spots on China. The first is the thought that, with the integration of China into the global economy, it will become a country that values democracy, human rights, and freedom. The second is the belief that China has no ambitions and it will not use its hegemonic powers to suppress other nations. Today, the Meng Wanzhou incident is only a tipping point for the outside world to see the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party.

Manthorpe said, “We can see how China is trying to be able to influence public life, business life and academic life in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. The bits and pieces disclosed in the Meng Wanzhou incident are exactly the same as what was mentioned in the book. This invisible penetration of Western countries is terrible. Do you ask me whether China is dangerous? I said that the Chinese people are not dangerous, but the Chinese Communist Party is absolutely dangerous and terrible.”

“This (Meng Wanzhou incident) is a very important and positive wake-up call for Canadian political leaders and ordinary Canadians, that we have to adjust and revisit our relations with China. Dealing with China should depend on reality and cannot be based on our own expectations.”

A typical example in the book is how China stole Canada’s nuclear research program, the Slowpoke nuclear reactor. This nuclear reactor was a unique research innovation of Canada in the 1970s. But over the years, the details of this nuclear research were leaked to China bit by bit. Later, when a Canadian researcher visited China, he was surprised to find that China was stealing, copying, and reproducing the Canadian technology. In this competition of nuclear research, China completely defeated Canada.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 2, 2019