A report prepared by Canada’s intelligence agency, the “Canadian Security Intelligence Service”, CSIS, has warned its policymakers that China was using its economic ties and influence to interfere with the political happenings of partner countries. The report, titled “Re-thinking security – China and the age of strategic rivalry”, has dedicated one special segment titled “Fingers in all pots: The threat of foreign interference in democratic systems” on how China is “targeting” New Zealand for its own benefits. It stated that the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) political influence activities in New Zealand have now reached a “critical level”. “Along with other nations, New Zealand is being targeted by a concerted foreign interference campaign waged by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The campaign aims to gain support for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government’s political and economic agendas by co-opting political and economic elites. It also seeks to access strategic information and resources. China’s efforts undermine the integrity of the New Zealand political system, threaten New Zealand sovereignty, and directly affect the rights of New Zealanders to freedom of speech, association and religion”, it reads. Commenting on the tenure of the present president of China, Xi Jinping, the report has summarised his influence into four categories, “A strengthening of efforts to manage and guide overseas Chinese communities and utilise them as agents of Chinese foreign policy, renewed emphasis on people-to-people, party-to-party, and PRC enterprise-to-foreign enterprise relations with the aim of co-opting foreigners to support and promote the CCP’s foreign policy goals, the roll-out of a global, multi-platform, strategic communication strategy; and the formation of a China-centred economic and strategic bloc”. According to the report, “China is prepared to use threats and enticements to bring business and political elites to its side, and motivate them to defend the Chinese perspective on disputes such as the status of Taiwan and the South China Sea” and has warned that “whether a Chinese partner company is a state-owned enterprise or a private one, it will have close and increasingly explicit ties to the CCP and unless trade agreements are carefully vetted for national security implications, Beijing will use its commercial position to gain access to businesses, technologies and infrastructure that can be exploited for intelligence objectives.”

 

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