I’m fighting what appears to be a furious onslaught of acute bronchitis, which may or may not be a melodramatic way of saying “I have a chest cold.” But I’m going through a rough patch, I assure you. The good news: I’ve been rescued by the amazing independent journalist Bob Mackin, who agreed to share this terrific podcast with The Real Story.
Bob’s a regular contributor to Business in Vancouver and he publishes his own news webzine The Breaker News, and even if you don’t live in Metro Vancouver, trust me, you’ll want to follow Bob’s work. He puts the big leagues to shame all the time, and there’s barely been a front-page nationwide story about Beijing’s cloak-and-dagger work in Canada in recent months that Bob didn’t already have an angle on, long before. He breaks big stories all the time, and he’s been chronicling the sordid, the rich and the powerful in Metro Vancouver for years.
The podcast here is a terrific show, and you’ll learn more about what Canada’s Chinese communities have had to put up with at the not-so-tender mercies of Beijing’s ruling princelings and their fabulously wealthy proxies in Canada than you’ll get from a month’s worth of CBC interventions in the story, I regret to say. You’ll hear from some of my favorite people - people who have been crying out about this transnational oppression for a long, long time: Cheuk Kwan, Mehmet Toti, Bill Chu, Cherie Wong, Ai-Men Lau, Gloria Fung and Henry Chan.
The podcast’s main attraction is a genuine working class hero, Andy Yan, the director of the Simon Fraser University city program. I wrote and in-depth profile of Yan for Maclean’s back in 2018, here: Andy Yan, the analyst who exposed Vancouver's real estate disaster. Hated by politicians, speculators and money-launderers, Andy Yan's data on Vancouver housing has earned him the right to say, 'I told you so'
Andy’s view of the current unpleasantness about Beijing-directed interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, in sum: A full public inquiry and foreign influence registry, pronto.
One of the points you’ll hear in the podcast: we all need to resist the faddish imbecility that what’s going on here is just racism. This is a re-run of what Andy had to put with when he was blowing the lid off the social wreckage the condo kings and white politicians had made of Vancouver by transforming the city into a real-estate bolthole for the immense riches of 60,000 Chinese ruling-class immigrant-investors, for starters. For his cheek, Andy was called a racist, by no less than the excruciatingly pallid Vancouver mayor, Gregor “Happy Planet” Robertson.
If there’s a national liftoff moment for the sort of thing Andy had to endure, you could mark it in January, 2019, when the creepy little Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye said that Canadians’ concerns about the abduction of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were merely evidences of “western egotism and white supremacy.”
It’s fair to notice that there are people stupid enough and evil enough to demonize Chinese-Canadians as a homogeneous mass of aliens devoted to the purpose of undermining Canada’s democracy. But “It’s racism!” conceals far more than it reveals about Beijing’s long reach into the epicentres of Canada’s political and corporate elites. Concealing the phenomenon is usually exactly what “It’s racism!” is intended to do.
Besides, I was able to write an entire naming-names column about the core of that Beijing-compliant complex last week, starting with the hideously compromised yet somehow unimpeachably respectable former governor-general, David Johnston: David Johnston the right man to whitewash Chinese interference: He has spent a half century supporting Beijing’s strategy to draw Canada into its orbit of influence, and without even trying, everyone I named in that rogues’ gallery is as white as the driven snow.
Adam Zivo has a useful piece in the National Post that casts some light on the way much of the news media, apart from having been completely asleep at the switch about this story for years on end, is encumbered by the high-fashion habit of seeing everything through a “race” lens. Adam singles out the CBC, which is fair because it’s not like you can just cancel your subscription: CBC keeps coming to Trudeau's defence over interference scandal: The public broadcaster is shamelessly pushing the narrative that concerns about Chinese election interference is 'racist'.
I’m very glad somebody in the mainstream pointed that out, but to be fully fair we should acknowledge that the Mother Corp retains some fine and hardworking journalists, and it’s not just the CBC that traffics in the “It’s Racism!” configuration. If you can bear it, get a load of this CityNews segment: Police investigation into Chinese ‘police stations’ is discriminatory, community says. The “community” says this? No, that’s what the Canada-China Friendship Promotion Association says. And they said the same thing last November when Yuesheng Wang, a researcher for Hydro-Quebec, appeared in court on espionage charges. The charges will cause racism, the Friendship Promotion Association said. Our friends over at Found in Translation have the goods on that crew, here.
One of the most outrageous “It’s Racism!” feints I’ve come upon in quite awhile is this one, a morally vapid, hilariously unconvincing escapade in the genre that tortures logic so cruelly it’s like being forced to watch an act of waterboarding. It’s right here, it’s written by the notorious Beijing sycophant and senator, Yuen Pau Woo, and - gosh, this will be awkward - it appears in the Ottawa Citizen, where I appear at least weekly. Woo has elsewhere warned, “with a straight face” as the veteran campaigner Bill Chu put it, that a foreign influence registry might end up a modern version of the Chinese exclusion law of a century ago,
If this merciless “chest cold” gives me any relief, I’ll get Woo sorted in my column, in the Ottawa Citizen, later today. I will be awkward.
In the meantime, help a fella out would ye?
Subscribe if you don’t, take out a paying sub if you subscribe for free, or heck, buy one for a friend. It’s $50 for an entire year, for goodness sake.