China’s diplomatic mission in Vancouver has actively interfered in the city’s politics, using proxies in diaspora community organizations and grooming politicians to run in last fall’s municipal election, according to Canada’s spy agency.
A Jan. 10, 2022, Canadian Security and Intelligence Service report viewed by The Globe and Mail outlines how China’s then-consul-general, Tong Xiaoling, discussed mentoring – or as the report quoted her, “grooming” – Chinese-Canadian municipal politicians for higher office to advance Beijing’s interests.
Ms. Tong sought to elect pro-Beijing politicians to city council in the October, 2022, municipal election in which incumbent mayor Kennedy Stewart lost to Ken Sim by margin of nearly 37,000 votes.
During his term as mayor, Mr. Stewart drew criticism from the Chinese government for suspending meetings with its diplomats after it put sanctions on Canadian MP Michael Chong, a friend of his and critic of Beijing, and strengthening ties with Taiwan, a self-ruled province that Beijing wants to annex.
Mr. Stewart said he was briefed in late May, 2022, by CSIS’s regional director and one of the agency’s China specialists about foreign interference in municipal politics. They asked a lot of questions about the attacks levelled at him by Ms. Tong and some Chinese-language media, partly owned by China’s government, he said.