'International espionage': PM should 'blow the whistle and say stop,' Day says
By Robert Fife
CanWest News Service
Calgary Conservative MP Jason Kenney says Chinese agents are spying on Chinese dissidents living in Canada. (CREDIT: Greg Fulmes, CanWest News Service)
OTTAWA, December 30 - Paul Martin, the Prime Minister, should cut off all foreign aid to China and tell the Chinese to cease all economic and political espionage activities in Canada, opposition MPs said yesterday.
A senior intelligence source has told the National Post that China has illegally targeted Canadian science and technology and used visiting Chinese students and scientists to obtain classified information.
The stolen information is turned over to China's Defence Science and Technological Information Centre, a branch of the Chinese military that oversees a web of factories and institutions related to nuclear, aeronautics, electronics, shipbuilding and weapons industries.
Conservative MP Jason Kenney said yesterday Chinese agents are also spying on Chinese pro-democracy dissidents in Canada, supporters of a free Tibet and religious groups such as the Falun Gong.
"Not only does the Chinese government spy on Canadian industries, but it spies on Canadians' political activities," said Mr. Kenney, who urged Mr. Martin to "vigorously protest" the espionage when he meets President Hu Jintao in Beijing next month.
Conservative Foreign Affairs critic Stockwell Day said Mr. Martin should not even leave for his planned trip to Beijing in mid-January until he has called in China's ambassador and bluntly told him to stop spying on Canada.
"The Prime Minister should just blow the whistle and say stop," said Mr. Day. "Everything is on hold here until we get a clear answer from the Chinese government on whether this is true and demand that this action stop."
The Chinese embassy denies it is spying but the high-level intelligence source said China is aggressive in seeking to illegally acquire Canadian technology for military use and to improve its global competitiveness.
The Prime Minister's communications director, Scott Reid, had no comment on the allegations.
NDP MP Pat Martin expressed concern yesterday that Canada might allow China's state-owned Minmetals Corp. to take over Noranda, Canada's largest mining company. Several Chinese state-owned energy companies are also reportedly trying to buy Alberta-based Husky Energy Inc. from Hong Kong tycoon Li Kashing.
"If we have reason to believe that their spies are scooping our technology above and beyond what we are willing to share, then the [Noranda] deal should be off," said Mr. Martin. "We don't want to do business with any country that is going to be engaging in subterfuge and international espionage. This is really worrisome."
The three opposition MPs also urged Ottawa to cancel the $54- million in annual foreign aid to China -- more than the $14.9-million that Canada is giving to Tsunami-lashed Sri Lanka or the $30-million to Indonesia.
The MPs said it is a travesty that China ranks as one of Canada's largest beneficiaries of foreign aid when it has put an astronaut into space and spends billions of dollars annually to create a huge state-of-the art military machine.
Mr. Day said our money could be better spent in poor African nations, especially in light of China's poor human-rights record.
"Every dollar we give to a repressive regime like China to help them with some area of aid just means they can spend a dollar of their [money] either on improved prisons for their clampdown on freedom, or it gives them another dollar to spend on missile programs," said Mr. Day.
The government justifies the aid to China because 20% of the world's poor live there.
However, critics note China's economy is growing at roughly 8% a year, easily outperforming G7 countries, and most economists think it could overtake the United States as the world's biggest economy by mid-century.
Not only has China replaced Britain as the world's fifth-biggest exporter but now has a bigger trade surplus with Washington than Japan, which cut foreign aid to Beijing because of its galloping economy.
With an estimated $2-billion annual budget for its space program, China has also set its sights on the moon and Mars -- with plans for an unmanned lunar satellite by 2007.