RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says that the Chinese regime’s efforts to repatriate its citizens against their will is a growing issue in Canada.
“It’s a growing problem, obviously, and something we want to work together with our international and domestic partners on,” Lucki told The Globe and Mail in a Jan. 21 report.
“A lot of it is about awareness and education, because things happen and we want to make sure people who are affected by this feel safe – that they can report this without fear of reprisal.”
While calling the issue a growing problem, Lucki could not speak to the breadth and depth of it.
Lucki said the RCMP has a phone number where people with concerns can call, but could not say how much it is being used.
Mehmet Tohti, executive director of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, told The Epoch Times he has lost hope that the government will take the issue more seriously after repeated pleas from the Uyghur community and other victim groups have fallen flat.
“I haven’t seen any concrete, tangible solution or steps taken by the government,” he said.
Tohti cited his personal experience attempting to report harassment through legal channels last month, when he says his phone and the phone of his legal adviser were hacked by suspected Chinese agents. After nearly three hours on the phone, his lawyer wasn’t able to file a report with the RCMP, CSIS, or through other channels, as various agencies and units passed the call to one another.
Tothi added the hotline mentioned by Lucki is for general national security issues and not solely dedicated to reporting harassment from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), despite repeated calls from Chinese-Canadian groups for a direct line to be set up.
“There’s nothing in Canada to report such an abusive practice by the Chinese government. That’s where we are at right now,” said Tothi.
Lucki’s comments come on the heels of a new report by Spanish NGO Safeguard Defenders, which digs into Beijing’s operations to repatriate “fugitives.”
“After Xi Jinping came to power, the CCP claimed some 18,000 officials had fled the country,” says the report published on Jan. 18.
Xi became secretary-general of the CCP and chairman of the Central Military Commission in 2012, and then president in 2013.
“Since then, Chinese asylum seekers has gone up by some 700%. Sky Net and sub-operation Fox Hunt were launched with the aim of ‘repatriating and returning’ Chinese overseas to face trial, and plays a key role in Xi Jinping’s signature “anti-corruption” campaign,” says the report.
Safeguard Defenders says that Chinese government data indicates it successfully repatriated 10,000 people by end of 2021 from over 120 countries, many of them in Canada, Australia, and the United States.
The report says Beijing uses various methods to repatriate targets, with legal means such as extraditions being rare.
These measures include “going after family members of the target still in China; sending police and agents overseas on illegal missions to intimidate the target to return; and use of direct kidnappings.”
The report mentions cases in Canada, such as that of former Chinese Supreme Court judge Xie Weidong, who criticized China’s justice system after moving to Canada. He was accused of corruption and asked to return, but after refusing, his family members in China were detained and persecuted. Yet, the Chinese regime was unsuccessful in that repatriation effort.
The report also mentioned that Canadian authorities have cooperated in the past with Beijing, providing assistance to its officials and police to carry out “negotiations” with targets in order to persuade them to return to China.