On November 16, the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX), a think tank based in Halifax, Canada, published a Handbook for Democracies to support a shared understanding of the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses to freedom around the world. The title of the Handbook is China vs. Democracy: The Greatest Game.
“The year 2020 witnessed a paradigm shift in the democratic world’s understanding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” said Peter Van Praagh, HFX President. “The 2020 paradigm shift in people’s attitudes toward China was a concrete change from the old conventional wisdom that an economically vibrant China would progress toward more freedom for its people, to the new conventional wisdom that the Chinese Communist Party is, in fact, the virus that endangers the world.”
The report said, “HFX spent the past decade calling attention to the challenge China poses through panel discussions at our annual Forum in Halifax. It was not until 2020, however, with the emergence of the global coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan, China, and all the uncertainty that accompanied it, that people around the world began to understand the real threat—to our supply chains, to international organizations, to the open exchange of information, to the protection of confidential information, and to freedom of the seas and skies.”
To compile the report, HFX, between February and October 2020, conducted in-depth interviews with more than 250 global experts and policy-and decision-makers.
The report states, “Accordingly, the PRC is intent on undermining democracy abroad. While the CCP continues to target democracies such as the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, India, Japan, and Australia, it is Hong Kong and Taiwan that stand on the front-line of the PRC’s global assault on democracy; their very existence as democracies now hangs precariously in the balance.”
The report also states, “The PRC has committed to modernizing its military while growing bolder and more assertive geostrategically—and not just in Asia. What may sometimes look like innocent and incremental steps risk developing into a pattern that, in a decade or two, could transform the balance of military power as well as the relevance of alliances and partnerships among democracies.”
The report calls on the world’s democracies saying that they “must pursue a carefully considered yet robust push back—a push back that Xi’s China has brought upon itself. The CCP must recalibrate its global ambitions and step back from its ongoing assault on the world’s democracies.”
The handbook also features a set of principles that HFX will champion around the world to defend the values that underpin democratic societies. At the end of the handbook, it placed a list of practices that undermine its values and way of life and that the democratic world should defend itself from doing:
Ignoring China’s attempts to interfere with democratic societies;
Submitting to, collaborating with, or participating in any censorship or self-censorship of ideas, writings, artistic endeavors, or statements related to the People’s Republic of China;
Participating in any business or technology-related practices or exchanges that aid and abet Chinese Communist Party oppression of its own people;
Neglecting to oppose attempts by the People’s Republic of China to bring global governance of the internet and technological standards into alignment with its own authoritarian values and ambitions;
Supporting or engaging in any kind of punishment or sanction of anyone for engaging in criticism of china;
Failing to support democratically-minded people and governments around the world who the People’s Republic of China pressures or intimidates;
Knowingly buying or trading in Chinese products or services made with forced labor, or that are the result of criminal activities like counterfeiting or intellectual property theft.
Source: Halifax International Security Forum, November 16, 2020