‘Don’t become a target’ of Chinese intelligence, CSIS warns Canadians

Click to play video: 'Illegal Chinese police activity ‘shut down’ in Canada, but investigation ongoing: RCMP'
Illegal Chinese police activity ‘shut down’ in Canada, but investigation ongoing: RCMP
WATCH: Illegal Chinese police activity 'shut down' in Canada, but investigation ongoing, say RCMP – Jun 13, 2023

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) issued a rare public warning Tuesday detailing how it says China’s intelligence service is targeting and recruiting Canadian citizens to supply information to Beijing.

The allegation comes as Canada continues to reckon with Chinese interference in the country, which has ranged from allegations of meddling in elections to using so-called “police stations” to monitor and threaten Chinese nationals or those with family in China.

In a Twitter thread, CSIS explained how targets inside and outside of China are “approached and cultivated” online by proxies of the People’s Republic of China’s Intelligence Services (PRCIS).

“They identify people who are actively looking for jobs in strategic sectors or who have high-value credentials,” the agency wrote.

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The target is then approached on Linkedin by the PRCIS proxy who poses as a human resources recruiter or security consultant. After establishing contact, the recruiter will move the conversation to WeChat, WhatsApp, email or another secondary platform “at the earliest opportunity.”

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CSIS said the target will then be asked to write reports for “consultants” in exchange for payment, and later meet in person or virtually with the “client” allegedly receiving the reports.

“Both the consultant and the client are in fact (Chinese) intelligence officers,” CSIS said.

Before long, the Canadian target is getting paid to write reports containing “confidential, privileged information that is of interest to the PRC,” the agency added, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

Canadians are being warned to be wary of who they connect with on LinkedIn and other online messaging platforms.

The Chinese consulate in Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

Click to play video: 'Canadians being ‘coerced’ by China into spying on community members'
Canadians being ‘coerced’ by China into spying on community members

In recent weeks, CSIS and other Canadian security agencies have detailed in public and to Parliament how they are cracking down on Chinese interference efforts in Canada.

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RCMP commissioner Mike Duheme told a House of Commons committee last week that more than 100 investigations into obvious foreign interference are underway in Canada, adding that police stations allegedly operated by Beijing have been closed amid ongoing investigations.

“We are trying to build the relationship with the communities to have the people come forward and tell us their story, so we can have more evidence to lay appropriate charges,” Duheme told reporters after his testimony.

“Any matters that can be charged, any person that can be charged with the Criminal Code, we will do so.”

The so-called police stations reported in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver allegedly hosted Chinese government agencies inside community centres and allegedly harassed members of the city’s Chinese community.

The Spanish human rights organization Safeguard Defenders, which has identified more than 100 of the alleged police stations in more than 50 countries, has said the stations serve to “persuade” people who Chinese authorities claim are fugitives to return to China to face charges.

The Chinese government has denied those claims.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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