Opinion - published in the Daily Gleaner (Fredericton, NB) print edition.
Thanks to Chen Yonglin’s revelations, now the Harper government along with Canadians should be well aware of the dubious nature of the Beijing political elite. In many ways, it is clear that the Chinese consulates are like tentacles used to further oppress dissidents in their new homeland. Many defectors all appear to agree on that one thing. Besides the Lai and Celil’s cases, it would be great if the PM would champion the cause of exiled Tibetans, Taiwanese and especially the Falun Gong who have been hit the hardest by the Communist regime's campaign of hatred overseas. Maybe the time is ripe for Harper to show more integrity and get tougher on China regardless of the almighty dollar. I must admit that he’s off to a good start though, but enough is enough!
VANCOUVER (CP) -Jeremy Hainsworth, Canadian Press: Sunday, June 10, 2007
A former Chinese diplomat says Chinese fugitive Lai Changxing could be assassinated before he gets back to China if Canada extadites him as Beijing has asked.
Lai is accused of masterminding a huge smuggling and corruption scheme in China and has been living under house arrest in Vancouver since August of 1999.
China is seeking his return to face the charges.
Canada asked for and received a diplomatic note from Beijing with assurance Lai would not be executed if returned and convicted.
Former Chinese foreign affairs diplomat Chen Yonglin, however, told a crowd in Vancouver on Saturday that Lai has been an embarassment to the Chinese Communist Party.
Chen said people at the top levels of power in China were allegedly involved in the schemes of which Lai is accused.
"If Lai Changxing, if he gets deported, before he gets back to China, he would likely be assassinated," Chen said.
The Canadian government is appealing a ruling that gave the Chinese fugitive more time to stay in Canada.
Lawyers for Immigration Canada are challenging a Federal Court decision in April that approved a request from Lai Changxing for a judicial review of a ruling that he faces no risk of torture or execution if deported to China.
Lai came close to leaving a year ago when he lost his claim for refugee status.
Chen has spoken to audiences across Canada warning that China uses front groups and spies to pressure western governments, including Canada's.
Chen said the Chinese embassy in Ottawa and the consulate in Vancouver use their influence with the emigre Chinese community to work against the Falun Gong, democracy activists, and Tibetan and Taiwanese groups.
When he defected in Australia two years ago, Chen said there were at least 1,000 Chinese agents working in Australia and Canada probably harboured just as many.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Jim Judd said recently that China accounts for about half of the attention his agency gives to foreign spying efforts and interference in Canadian activities.
Chen warned Wednesday that China has used prostitutes to entrap foreigners and blackmail them to support Chinese lobbying back home.
But he said he has no evidence that any Canadian politicians or officials have been victims.
Chen, however, said he was not surpised to hear Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan had tried to shut down Falun Gong protesters outside the Chinese consulate after he was treated like "an emperor" in China.
Earlier this year, a Chinese-Canadian TV network claimed the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa tried to enlist the Chinese community to oppose its licence bid before the CRTC.