CBC大幅度系列报道中国CBC News series explores China's expanding sphere of influence

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China is on a mission to re-make the world. CBC News examines the stakes for Canada

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The crisis in Hong Kong is once again focusing attention on China's leadership. How far will Beijing go to stop the continuing protests? Many residents worry about losing freedom under the weight of a dominating, repressive power as Beijing seeks to assert its authority over the region.

Those fears are felt well beyond Hong Kong. China has arrived as a truly commanding presence on the global stage that few nations can ignore. How do Canada and other countries contend with it?

In our CBC News series China's Power, we examine Beijing's expanding circles of influence.

China has the mindset and the muscle to play by its own rules. Should Canada resist or engage? There are risks and rewards to both approaches.

Economic success story
China's economic development over the past 40 years counts as the fastest sustained expansion by any state in history. With GDP increases averaging nearly 10 per cent per year, more than 800 million Chinese have been pulled out of poverty. It is an astonishing story of economic success.

Now, no longer content being the world's workshop, China is exporting homegrown technology, engineering expertise, financial capital and visionary development ideas around the world.


A Pakistani motorcyclist drives on a newly built road in Haripur, Pakistan, that is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a modern-day version of the Silk Road trade route linking East to West. (Aqeel Ahmed/The Associated Press)
This projection of Chinese economic might owes much to President Xi Jinping. Under his leadership, China launched the wildly ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, a plan to circle the globe with Chinese-built and financed infrastructure. Highways, deep-sea ports, tunnels, railways, business zones and much more all tied to Chinese banking, data centres, currency exchange and trade rules.

It's a whole new organizing principle for global development — with Beijing at the centre — and a clear challenge to U.S. leadership.

More than 100 countries have welcomed this investment, from across Asia and Africa to Western Europe and Latin America. As we'll see in our series, Beijing has even partnered with several small Caribbean states, including Jamaica.


Workers inspect railway tracks at Dazhou railway station in Sichuan province, China, that are part of the Belt and Road freight rail route linking Chongqing, China, to Duisburg, Germany. (Reuters)
But there's a price to pay. Some nations have found themselves mired in debt. Some regret handing economic levers over to Chinese interests beholden to Beijing. All are binding themselves tighter to a state that expects their political support and is notorious for crushing internal dissent.

Canada-China tensions
In this country, Canadians are eyeing Chinese investment warily — and perhaps for good reason.

One year ago, relations between Canada and China deteriorated swiftly and dramatically. It started with the Dec. 1, 2018, arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant. Just nine days later, Beijing jailed two Canadians —businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Korvig — in China, accusing them of spying.

China then blocked Canadian canola shipments, suspended pork imports and impeded a number of other Canadian farm products while warning Ottawa of "grave consequences."


The Huawei logo is pictured outside the company's research facility in Ottawa. Huawei technology and investment are prevalent throughout Canada. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
The whole affair has complicated Ottawa's decision on whether to block Huawei's participation in building Canada's next-generation 5G mobile networks, largely over security concerns.

Huawei, though, is already deeply integrated into Canadian business, technology, and consumer culture. Its equipment is vital to Canadian telecom giants Telus and BCE, and its electronic devices, including mobile phones, are widely used.

Beyond that, we'll see in our series how Huawei is making investments in Canada's intellectual capacity by funding research centres at universities across the country.

Cultural influence
Finally, we'll examine the promotion of China's cultural interests in Canada. One way of doing that is through the state-funded Confucious Institute centres in Canadian schools. Some school boards have embraced them as valuable learning tools for students despite concerns about the active promotion of a Beijing-friendly worldview.

At CBC News, we recognize that China represents a difficult political challenge. It is Canada's second-biggest trading partner after the United States. Government and business leaders desperately want to preserve trade and investment opportunities in a market of 1.4 billion people.

Individual Canadians are also invested in this story. We know it resonates. There are strong cultural connections. Canadians of Chinese origin are among the largest minority groups in the country. Jobs in agriculture, business, tourism and many other sectors are tied to this important relationship. All reasons why we want to help our audiences better understand the nature and impact of China's Power - around the world and here at home.

New Person

China's Belt and Road Initiative: Where it goes and what it's supposed to accomplish

Economic powerhouse is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure projects around the world

This story is part of a CBC News series exploring China's expanding influence around the world and how Canada and other countries are contending with China's power.

Back in 2013, when the U.S. and many other countries were still recovering from the Great Recession, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced perhaps the most transparently ambitious foreign policy of the new century: the Belt and Road Initiative.

The name is a nod to the Silk Road, the ancient network of trade routes that connected China with the Roman Empire and many societies in between.

The modern version envisioned by Xi goes even further.

China is financing hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of infrastructure projects — including ports, roads, bridges, railways, power plants, telecommunications networks and much more — in partnering countries throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond.

The purpose, China says, is to accelerate and enhance development and trade in order to create new markets and opportunities for China and its partners.

Where it goes


The "belt" in the name refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt, a network of roads, bridges and railways across Eurasia. The "road" refers to the Maritime Silk Road, a network of ports and seaways that surrounds Eurasia and connects with the Horn of Africa and as far as New Zealand.

The project also seeks to create six economic corridors that would facilitate the transportation of people, goods and data.


Determining which projects are actually part of the Belt and Road Initiative can be tricky.

Some infrastructure projects that were underway before Belt and Road was announced in 2013 have reportedly been rebranded as part of the initiative.

And many participating countries, such as those in the Caribbean and South America, for example, are not located anywhere near any of Belt and Road's six economic corridors, or either the Silk Road Economic Belt or the Maritime Silk Road.

What it buys
Loans from China have enabled many countries to move ahead with infrastructure projects that may not have seemed possible before, including deep-sea ports, high-speed railways and massive hydroelectric dams.

The following map shows just some of the infrastructure projects either completed or underway across Asia and parts of Europe and Africa.


Here are some more figures that show the size and scope of China's investments.


The risks and rewards
The World Bank predicts that, if completed, Belt and Road projects could reduce travel times along the corridors 12 per cent, increase trade between 2.7 and 9.7 per cent, and lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty.

But the World Bank also says the policy carries potential risks, particularly for developing countries that may find themselves with unmanageable debt.


A man stands near a mural depicting the ancient Silk Road during the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in April. At the event, China emphasized its commitment to ensuring greater transparency and environmental safeguards in Belt and Road projects. (Ng Han Guan/The Associated Press)
Some countries have already found themselves in that tough spot. Sri Lanka, for example, gave China a 99-year lease for its port of Hambantota to help ease its debt burden.

Other countries, such as Malaysia and Myanmar, have cut their potential debt load by billions of dollars by either scrapping or scaling back projects.

Critics of the initiative, which include U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, use such examples to argue the purpose of Belt and Road is less about trade and development, and more about China using so-called debt trap diplomacy to increase its sphere of influence.

A study from the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Global Development looked at the financial health of some countries receiving Belt and Road money. It identified eight recipients that are potentially headed for serious difficulty keeping up with their debt payments.


In some participating countries, Belt and Road projects have been linked to corruption, or faced opposition from citizens concerned about environmental damage.

At a time when much of the world is trying to reduce its carbon emissions, loans from China have financed new coal power plants in Asia and Africa.

One of the benefits of Belt and Road for China is that it provides plenty of opportunities to put the country's industrial capacity to productive use all over the world, but some research suggests it does so at the expense of local contractors and workers.

At its Belt and Road forum, held in Beijing in April, China sought to reassure its partners, and potential partners, that the program will have a renewed focus on oversight and guarding against corruption, debt sustainability and environmental protection going forward.


"This story is part of a CBC News series exploring China's expanding influence around the world and how Canada and other countries are contending with China's power."

The first sentence of the article has already demonstrated how Canada would do its best to "resist" or do anything possible to oppose the "China Power"!


我真的 很胖吗

New Person


New Person

Jamaica has China to thank for much-needed infrastructure — but some locals say it has come at a price

This story is part of a CBC News series exploring China's expanding influence around the world and how Canada and other countries are contending with China's power.

In Mount Carey, a rural district in Jamaica, just south of Montego Bay, two men flag down passing cars while a third shovels cement into potholes that are overtaking the road.

Joseph, who lives in the community, says the road has become dangerous, so they're collecting donations to pay for cement to fix it themselves.

"It's important, so we do it," he said. "We're saving lives."

Meanwhile, just 100 kilometres east, a gleaming new highway connecting Jamaica's major cities in the north and the south sits relatively empty.

Construction of the North South Highway started in earnest in 2013, the same year Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the launch of his Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It's a plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects to increase the flow of goods, money and people across much of the world, including the Caribbean.

The North South Highway, completed in 2016, was one of the first major infrastructure projects in Jamaica financed and built by a Chinese state-owned company.

Xi calls projects like this a "win-win" that deepen co-operation between the two countries while providing opportunity for development.


An overhead view of Jamaica's new, and rather empty, North South Highway. (David Common/CBC)
But the highway has left Jamaica with a $730-million debt to China. And the $32 toll for a 66-kilometre, one-way trip —collected by the Chinese developer — means driving the highway isn't affordable for most Jamaicans.

"Some locals say the Jamaicans have been left paying for a highway that does not benefit them," said Jevon Minto, a local scholar who has researched the impact of Chinese development investments on Jamaica for the Inter-American Dialogue, a think-tank based in Washington, D.C.

"The locals don't drive it and yet they are the ones paying for it."

That's why, for some, the highway is emblematic of a larger question surrounding China's growing interest and investment in the Caribbean:

Who really wins and who loses?

Experts say there are several key reasons why China is investing in the region: to extract mineral resources, to develop strategic ports and shipping lanes, and to provide opportunities for Chinese labour.

To better understand how these interests are playing out in the region, CBC News travelled to Jamaica, the 10th and most recent Caribbean nation to formally sign on to BRI.

Outlet for Chinese labour
Last month, the Jamaican government announced the groundbreaking for a children's hospital in Montego Bay, the first hospital to be built in the country in decades.

Tian Qi, China's ambassador to Jamaica, described the project as a testament to his country's relationship with Jamaica.

"For the past 47 years, we have been working together as true friends and real partners."

The hospital is a gift from China — one of the perks that comes with doing business with the economic powerhouse.

At first glance, the site is unremarkable. But a closer look reveals workers wearing safety vests emblazoned with Chinese characters, and badges that read, "China Aid."


A new children's hospital is being constructed in Montego Bay. The facility is a gift from China, which is employing many of its own workers on the project. (CBC)
The contractor is imported from China, as are many of the workers. This is most often the case when projects are funded by grants, loans and private investments from China.

Such concessions have prompted criticism from members of the local construction industry, some of whom accuse the Jamaican government of selling out their industry to the Chinese.

"The Chinese do not engage Jamaican engineers and Jamaican management on the construction job, they only engage labour," said Carvel Stewart, a civil engineer and former president of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica.

"I think it's shortsightedness. I think it's a lack of development of the Jamaican construction workforce."


Carvel Stewart, a civil engineer and former president of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica, says his government should negotiate better terms with China to ensure more opportunities for Jamaican professionals. (Jared Thomas/CBC)
He says the Jamaican government should have negotiated terms that require Chinese firms to hire locals at all job levels, not just as labourers.

"It is our government's policy that I'm critical of, not the Chinese. If we could get that break in China, wouldn't we?"

CBC News reached out to the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Jamaica Limited, whose members include construction companies operating in Jamaica, but didn't receive a response prior to publication.

Richard Bernal, Jamaica's former ambassador to the U.S. and pro-vice chancellor for global affairs at the University of the West Indies, says the number of Chinese workers in Jamaica is relatively small compared to other developing countries that have accepted loans from China, and the total has been shrinking over time.

He offers three reasons why Chinese loans are good for Jamaica.

"One, the terms are quite generous — long repayment periods, low interest. Secondly, the Chinese are very competitive in carrying out these construction projects, which they do all over the world. And thirdly, what you find is that it comes with less conditionality than Western aid."

Bernal said traditional sources of aid, such as funding from the U.S., aren't as available these days, which helps explain why Jamaica is more receptive to investment from China.

Natural resources
China's interest in the Caribbean extends beyond loans and labour. Seeking out natural resources is also a key aspect of BRI.

Bauxite, a rock formed from the reddish clay of tropical regions, is the world's primary source of aluminum. Bauxite mining is also the second largest industry in Jamaica.

The Alpart mine and refinery, one of Jamaica's largest, is located in the southwestern town of Nain. In 2009, Alpart closed in the wake of the global financial crisis and a downturn in the aluminum industry. It sat dormant until it was purchased in 2016 by Chinese state-owned mining giant Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO).


The Alpart mine and refinery was a provider of jobs, as well as a producer of pollution. (CBC)
The reopening brought jobs back to the community, but not without some concerns.

Earlier this year, Jamaica's environmental regulator issued 16 enforcement orders against JISCO for causing "serious environmental and human health issues."

The source of the problem, the regulator said, was a 350-hectare residue disposal area that was poorly managed and in breach of environmental permits.

Residue from bauxite can contain concentrations of harmful metals and low levels of radioactive elements.

Some Nain residents who spoke with CBC News said they were grateful for the work but also worried about the potential impact on their health.

Of primary concern is bauxite dust, which can contaminate drinking water and cause damage to the lungs, nose and throat, as well as exposed skin.


A look at a tailings pond at the Alpart mine and refinery. (CBC)
One resident said she was concerned about the dust that would cover the fruit trees outside her home. Another resident said her skin breaks out in rashes when it's windy outside.

Some said they have been in talks with JISCO about possible compensation and help relocating but are still waiting to hear back from the company.

Bernal cautions against assigning all the blame to China.

"Guess what? The residue from bauxite plants have been here since they were established 50 years ago by Canadians and American firms," he said.

"I'm not exonerating the Chinese. I'm just saying it's not something unique to the Chinese."

Last month, JISCO decided to shut the mine for two years. Jamaica's Ministry of Transport and Mining said the closure will allow time to make upgrades and for the price of aluminum to recover.

WATCH | Highways, mines and hospitals — CBC visits some of Jamaica's infrastructure projects bankrolled by China:

Who wins and who loses? Jamaica on China's Belt and Road Initiative
  • 2 days ago
  • 7:40

This year Jamaica became the 10th Caribbean country to formally sign on to China's Belt and Road Initiative. China's investments have brought much-needed infrastructure to the region, but with that has also come some friction. CBC News took a road trip through Jamaica and asked who wins and who loses when it comes to China's Belt and Road. 7:40
Strategic location
Another reason for China's interest in the Caribbean is its proximity to the Panama Canal, a strategic shipping route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

"The Panama Canal is critical for trade in the Americas," said Scott MacDonald, an analyst of China-Caribbean relations for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a D.C.-based think-tank. "It's also critical for the movement of trade and products out of Asia to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States."

He suspects that's one reason China showed interest in building a port at Goat Island, located off the south coast of Jamaica and directly north or Panama. It's part of Jamaica's Portland Bight, an environmentally sensitive and protected area.

Five years ago, the Jamaican government announced that the state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company would lead the project.


There were plans to build a China-financed port at Goat Island, an environmentally sensitive and protected area. (David Common/CBC)
When Ingrid Parchment heard that Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller announced the plan during a trip to China, she was shocked.

"I thought, 'Why are we giving away one of our major resources to somebody? Because they have an idea?'"

Parchment is executive director of the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation, which is responsible for preserving the area.

"They were going to be levelling the island, removing all of the trees, which is habitat for birds, and also the mangroves, in particular, which are where the baby fish and crabs grow."

Construction of the port would have also required dredging around the island, which would leave the local community more vulnerable to damage from hurricanes.


Ingrid Parchment, executive director of the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation, helped lead the opposition to a Goat Island port. (David Common/CBC)
In an effort to dissuade the government from going ahead with the port, Ingrid's group commissioned a study from the Conservation Strategy Fund, a California-based environmental consultancy, that looked at the environmental and economic impacts of the project.

"It determined that the cost of the port at Goat Island, both the development and operation, would be far greater than at least two or three other sites in Jamaica," Parchment said.

She shared the findings with members of the Jamaican Parliament, and then-newly elected Prime Minister Andrew Holness. She also took him on a tour of the island.

Soon after, Holness announced the port project was cancelled.

China has since financed new ports in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and the Bahamas.


"This allows China to make a poke at the United States in its soft underbelly, because this is right in their backyard," said MacDonald, who is writing a book on the topic, with the working title: The New Cold War in the Caribbean.

"The U.S. and China definitely have marked out a new competitiveness — a rivalry, if you want — that does look like a Cold War in some aspects," he said. "And I think you're going to see sharper elbows over the issue of who has influence in different regions on the planet and who doesn't.

"And that includes this region."

MacDonald is far from alone in seeing this dynamic.


Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been critical of China's investments and influence in the Caribbean. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been ringing the alarm bells over China's growing influence in the region, which is particularly concerning, he says, given its proximity to the U.S.

"China reaches out to interested nations with promises of hefty investment. After reaching an agreement, Beijing hijacks the country's resources and infrastructure, often dramatically ramping up the lending terms after initial negotiation," he wrote in an op-ed for the Miami Herald back in September.


Scott MacDonald, an analyst of China-Caribbean relations for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is writing a book about the power dynamic between China and the U.S. in the Caribbean. The working title is The New Cold War in the Caribbean. (Jared Thomas/CBC)
MacDonald says the U.S. has a point about China's potential leverage over some BRI countries.

"If you're one of the biggest holders of that country's debt, you may have a little more say in the processes and policies that get enacted."

Bernal, Jamaica's former ambassador to the U.S., remains cautiously optimistic about Jamaica's involvement in Belt and Road.

"Four per cent of Jamaica's debt is owed to China — not a huge amount," he said.

Even so, Bernal said he has told officials in the U.S. that if they want to maintain their country's influence in the region, the U.S. needs to step up.


Richard Bernal, Jamaica's former ambassador to the U.S., says he's cautiously optimistic about his country's involvement in China's Belt and Road Initiative. (CBC)
He said the U.S. approach has been to tell countries not to engage with China, but that's a tough sell.

"It's very difficult to tell a poor country that's looking for investment and trade, not to engage with the second largest economy in the world."

So, Jamaica is left to strike a balance.


Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness reviews the honour guard during a welcome ceremony with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing earlier this month. (Florence Lo/Reuters)
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Holness spent eight days visiting China. When he returned home, he announced that Jamaica would not be negotiating any new loans with China and would instead focus on private-sector partnerships and reducing Jamaica's debt.

CBC News requested an interview with Holness but was told he wasn't available.

History repeating itself?
Looking out at the shores of Goat Island, Ingrid Parchment wonders if this is all just history repeating itself.

"You know, there have been lots of different discussions ... that the Chinese are trying to take over the world," she said. "But I don't know if I really think it is any different from when the British came out, or the French came, or the Spanish came.

"It is just a different era."

New Person

Huawei funds $56M in academic research in Canada. That has some experts concerned
Chinese telecom giant Huawei funds millions of dollars in technology research in Canada, and that has some tech and national security experts alarmed.

Huawei has been singled out by intelligence and security agencies around the world. It's been called a "Trojan horse" and a threat to Western nations. It's believed by many to be linked to the Chinese government and is regularly accused of spying and intellectual property theft — all allegations it denies.

CBC News has found Huawei's financial ties to Canadian universities total more than $56 million. But there are no federal guidelines around how these investments should be managed and disclosed, and that raises questions about who will own the findings of the research and the resulting patents.

The Globe and Mail first outlined the depths of those financial ties last spring. Since then, universities continue to operate without any clear guidance from the federal government.

"Frankly, the government of Canada has fallen down catastrophically," says Christopher Parsons, a senior research associate at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, which studies the way information is used, and misused, across technologies. "No one knows exactly what they should be doing."


Christopher Parsons, research associate at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. Parsons says the federal government must give universities clear direction about funding from companies like Huawei. (Ousama Farag/CBC)
Parsons, who is also the managing director of the Telecom Transparency Project, says the government's failure to set out policy guidelines for private sector funding has made it difficult for universities, which rely on that funding to stay at the forefront of wireless research and, in turn, attract top students.

Huawei says it is one of the biggest funders of academic research in Canada. Google, Microsoft, Rogers and Bell are among the others but declined to provide CBC News with any figures. Like Huawei, they are not required to disclose funding details.

Without guidelines, Parsons says the universities are being asked to play the roles of the intelligence and security communities, export development agencies and policy-makers.

"Things are really grey at the moment for universities," says Parsons. "They've been instructed by CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] that there is something to be aware [of] but they don't know exactly what."

Fears about Huawei 'overblown'
Huawei's vice-president of corporate affairs, Alykhan Velshi, says fears and concerns about Huawei are "overblown and not really based on fact."

He said the company is committed to keeping the research public, and that agreements signed in the last year provide for the company and the university to share any patents.

"The researchers who collaborate with us have the ability to commercialize the research themselves," Velshi said.


Alykhan Velshi, vice-president of corporate affairs at Huawei, says most of the concerns about the company are 'overblown and not really based on fact.' (Ousama Farag/CBC)
The academic research is part of an overall $164 million Huawei spent in research in Canada last year.

Huawei has been operating in Canada for 10 years, selling the equipment that wireless carriers like Bell and Telus use to build their networks. (Rogers used to be supplied by Huawei but has switched to Huawei's biggest competitor, Ericsson.)

Velshi said the company works closely with other major telcos and is in weekly contact with Canada's security agencies. The government hasn't reported any security incidents or complaints about Huawei's operations in this country.

"If those counter-parties didn't feel that we were a trustworthy actor or we were a company with whom they could do business, they wouldn't do business with us," Velshi said.

Velshi said Huawei's partners in Canada "see that is in their interest to work with us."

Huawei 'not a normal company'
A national security expert say we simply can't talk about Huawei the way we talk about other companies. Stephanie Carvin, an assistant professor from Carleton University in Ottawa calls Huawei a "state-championed company." She says the company is intertwined with and supported by the Chinese government in ways that most companies are not.

"The Chinese state has taken two Canadians hostage on behalf of Huawei," she said, referring to Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, whose detention in China is widely speculated to be in retaliation for Canada's arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. "That's not a normal company, and I don't think we should be considering it as such."

Carvin says the universities are being put in an impossible situation.

"There's no good options here," she says. "It's either you're denying these universities money or we're making cheap IP [intellectual property] for the Chinese state. Pick your poison."

Parsons says without seeing the contract language, it's impossible to know how any patents would be shared between academic institutions and Huawei. His concern is that Huawei would retain control over any technological discoveries, shutting out other companies and potentially hurting Canada's national interest, especially when it comes to 5G technology, the next generation of wireless that will be used in critical infrastructure such as power grids.


A Huawei ad for 5G in Shanghai. Intelligence and security agencies around the world have raised alarms Huawei's role in building the next generation of wireless infrastructure. (Chinatopix/The Associated Press)
"What are the terms under which the patents are assigned?" asks Parsons. "Are they being done in a way that is coherent with the Canadian government's foreign policy for national security objectives?"

Over the past five years Huawei has had a financial relationship with 17 Canadian universities, ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to many millions of dollars.

Huawei funded a project at the University of Western Ontario, in London, which the university says is "related to the research and development of telecommunications products and services" at the university.

The University of Waterloo has scholarships and engineering awards funded by Huawei. The university says Huawei has provided $15.3 million in research funding over the past five years for a total of 16 projects, which include research into wireless systems, autonomous driving and network virtualization.

The University of British Columbia provided details on a three-year, $3-million partnership researching "advanced communications and 5G projects." In a statement, JP Heale, the managing director of UBC's Industry Liason Office, said: "All of our research contracts include a publication clause guaranteeing UBC the right to publish results."

Quebec City's Laval University was less forthcoming, saying only, "The investment of Huawei is confidential as per the collaborative contracts." The University of Guelph told CBC News that Huawei has invested in two research projects, but declined to provide details on the nature of that research.

Government has 'failed'
The schools are under no obligation to disclose this information.

"It's not on them as the government has ... failed to explain what needs to be done," said Parsons. He says the government has to give the universities guidance about "the processes that need to be put place to receive money from Huawei — or any other Chinese company, for that matter."

Carvin agrees. She says instead of security agencies speaking with universities in vague terms about potential threats, the federal government has to take charge.

"And I think the first way to do that is developing an economic national security plan" laying out Canadian policy in dealing with foreign companies investing in critical research.

It will take time for the newly minted federal cabinet to get briefed and up to speed on the big issues of the day. But experts like Carvin and Parsons feel the question of Huawei needs to be near the top of the list if priorities.

For now, Ottawa will say only that "an examination of emerging 5G technology and the associated security and economic considerations is underway."



华为领先了说偷艺,现在花大钱搞科研他们又concern 了,担心木马计就别用了。

New Person

Some Canadian schools see China's Confucius Institute as a handy teaching tool. Others reject it as propaganda

Edmonton school board welcomes Chinese program while others cut ties over concerns about state involvement


Raffy Boudjikanian · CBC News · Posted: Dec 01, 2019 2:00 AM MT | Last Updated: December 2


At Kildare School in Edmonton, Laur An-Yochim, centre, and classmates wait for instructions in both Mandarin and English during gym class. The Edmonton Public School Board's agreement with the Chinese government has produced thousands of bilingual students since 2007, but other schools have severed ties with the program over concerns that its state-funded model will result in too much censorship and foreign interference. (Terry Reith/CBC)

After tying his sneaker shoelace, Laur An-Yochim jumps back to his feet.

Gym is his favourite class, and the fifth-grader does not intend to miss a moment of physical literacy consultant Stacey Hannay's instructions.

"What is this in Mandarin?" Hannay asks, hopping around the basketball court inside Kildare School in Edmonton.

The students yell the answer, then move along to a game that involves finding hidden trinkets underneath rows of plastic cups, following directions shouted in English and Mandarin.

Kildare is one of 14 schools in the Edmonton Public School Board's jurisdiction that takes part in programming offered by the Confucius Institute. That includes Mandarin classes but also other subjects taught in Mandarin, ranging from physical education to math.

The Institute is partly funded by China's Ministry of Education and offers programming at elementary and high schools, as well as colleges and universities across Canada. China provides annual funding to run the programs as well as Chinese instructors who are are paid by China. In Edmonton's case, they work alongside the school's regular teachers to deliver language immersion programming.

Operates around the world
Much of Confucius Institute programming consists of classes in language and aspects of Chinese culture, such as calligraphy. China says it helps operate more than 500 of them around the world. In Canada, eight colleges and universities and three school boards have signed agreements with the organization.

Some critics, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), accuse the Institute of political interference and censorship in some of its classes, but the EPSB says it hasn't experienced those problems and has had thousands of its students complete the program since it first struck an agreement with Beijing in 2007.

For An-Yochim and other students, the immersion program means his Mandarin is as smooth as his English. He switches effortlessly between the two and says knowing one of the world's most widely spoken languages has allowed him to connect with his grandparents when he visits China annually.

"They say every year, 'Wow, how are you this tall? Or, 'Your Chinese is really good this year,'" he said.

WATCH | Students at Kildare School in Edmonton test out their Mandarin:

'I could speak with my grandparents easier'
  • 5 days ago
  • 1:13

Students at Kildare School in Edmonton explain what they get out of the Manadarin classes offered by the Confucius Institute. 1:13
School board trustees flown to China
The Edmonton school board insists it carefully reviews teaching materials and has no concerns about controversial subjects getting suppressed in class.

The board receives annual funding from China to run the program, and 10 EPSB delegates flew there to renew the deal last October at Beijing's expense.

"I needed to go to see what it is, what does this look like? Right? What is the value?" said Trisha Estabrooks, the board's chairperson and a former CBC News journalist, who was part of the delegation, there for six days.


EPSB board chair Trisha Estabrooks was among 10 delegates who flew to China on Beijing's dime to renew the board's Confucius agreement last year. She went for six days while others stayed a week or two. (Terry Reith/CBC)
"I learned about the value that some of our principals in Edmonton Public see in having that partnership."

Estabrooks does not believe her independence as a trustee was compromised by having the trip expenses covered by China.

"Taxpayer dollars were not used," she said.

"I'd be concerned about the optics if Alberta taxpayer dollars were used to pay for my trip to China. I would not have gone on that trip."

Money not only concern, critics say
But Kathleen Lowrey, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Alberta, doesn't want her nine-year-old daughter anywhere near Confucius programs.

"We're inviting them into elementary schools that Canadian taxpayers have paid for," she said. "It's important to separate Chinese culture and language and civilization from the Chinese state."

Lowrey supports student exposure to Chinese culture, but she worries the country's government "has very different values from Canada." She cited the example of two Canadian citizens — Fan Wei and Robert Lloyd Schellenberg — who were sentenced to death in China for drug offences.


Cultural anthropologist Kathleen Lowery spoke out against the Edmonton Public School Board's agreement renewal last year. (Peter Evans/CBC )
Some schools that originally took on Confucius Institute programs have since severed their ties. In 2013, McMaster University in Hamilton ended its contract with the organization after a teacher, Sonia Zhao, left the Institute, citing discriminatory hiring practices over her membership in the Falun Gong religious group.

The Toronto District School Board dropped out of a partnership before it got off the ground five years ago.

At the time, Concordia and McGill universities in Montreal told CBC they were approached by China but never signed up. McGill cited a lack of safeguards to ensure its academic freedoms.

New Brunswick's Education Department, meanwhile, is opting out completely by 2022, calling the program "Chinese propaganda."

CSIS flags institute as propaganda tool
A 2013 intelligence report by CSIS warned that Chinese leaders identified Confucius as "an organization for spreading propaganda and building soft power" and spoke of a "perception that CIs do not allow discussion of topics that the Chinese government deems sensitive," such as the political situation in Tibet and Taiwan or the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.


Katelyn Chau, centre, focuses on a problem-solving exercise in class at Kildare School. The Edmonton Public School Board says 2,143 students enrolled in its Confucius program during this academic year. (Terry Reith/CBC )
Other foreign-government funded institutions promoting culture and education operate in Canada, including Germany's Goethe Institute, Spain's Cervantes Institute and the British Council, but CSIS placed the Confucius Institute in a different category.

"Unlike the British Council, whose charter ensures that it is free from political interference, the CIs are closely linked to the Chinese part state," the report said.

In 2014, the director of the Confucius Institute in Quebec told CBC she was visited by CSIS agents shortly after setting up shop in Montreal, and they only left her alone after she threatened to file a human-rights complaint.

Various levels of transparency
Determining exactly what kind of contracts are in place between Canadian schools and the Confucius Institute can be tricky.

CBC News reached out to eight higher-education institutions to find out about their agreements with China. Four of them didn't respond:

  • Dawson College in Montreal.
  • Seneca College in Toronto.
  • Carleton University.
  • Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.
The University of Waterloo, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina and Halifax's St. Mary's University disclosed that they renewed their contracts in 2016 but only Waterloo and the Saskatchewan schools provided copies to CBC News. St. Mary's asked CBC to fill out a freedom of information request.

The Coquitlam School District in British Columbia and the Edmonton Public School Board provided copies of their agreements. The two boards' contracts specify that China's role will include providing a set amount of annual funding but don't spell out an amount other than a one-time "start-up" contribution of $150,000 in Coquitlam's case.

Pay or set limits, ex-diplomat says
If Canadian educational institutions have to accept foreign funding, they should control the curriculum, said Gordon Houlden, a former diplomat with the Canadian government who has worked in Hong Kong and Beijing.


Gordon Houlden, the director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, says universities and colleges should pay more heed to concerns about political interference and censorship at Confucius Institutes than grade or high schools. (Terry Reith/CBC)
"If there isn't enough money available, it's very hard sometimes ... to say no," said Houlden, who now heads the China Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, which is mostly funded by the province and receives no money from China.

Houlden says young Canadians should continue learning about an important economic power like China, but the funding for any such education programs should come from local governments or school boards.

"The 21st century will be, in my view, dominated by Asia," he said.

New Person

China is becoming the biggest movie market in the world — and changing what you watch

The growing cinematic superpower is forcing blockbusters to change before accessing its audiences


Eli Glasner · CBC News · Posted: Dec 03, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 5 hours ago


A scene from the Dreamworks film Abominable. The Chinese-American co-production featured a controversial map, which led to the film being banned in other parts of Asia. (Dreamworks Studios)

Canadian producer Raymond Massey spends so much time travelling to China that he's earned a Chinese nickname: Old Horse.

The name, he says, comes from an expression about an old horse finding its way home. The TV and film veteran jokes that in Canada, he'd already be put out to pasture.

The respect he receives in the East is part of what keeps Massey coming back.

Or at least it had, until the arrest of Meng Wanzhou.

Since Canada detained the Huawei executive, all of the Vancouver-based producer's projects have ground to a halt.


One of producer Raymond Massey's first Chinese-Canadian collaborations was the CBC-TV series Iron Road. (Mark Bochsler)
It's perhaps just the latest sign of the strength of the new cinematic superpower.

Whether it's James Bond on a mission in Shanghai or Chinese doctors saving Tony Stark's life, you may have noticed an increased level of Chinese content in blockbusters.

Take the recently released Midway. The Chinese-backed production featured a subplot where Chinese villagers sheltered American pilot James Doolittle.

Speaking with CBC News, Midway director Roland Emmerich put it bluntly: "Without China, Midway wouldn't have happened. They're such a huge market, you can easily make back your money."

Building 25 screens a day
With a population of 1.4 billion and a booming middle class, theatre chains in China have been building as many as 25 movie screens a day, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

In the last 10 years, while North American ticket sales have been stagnant, China's movie market is exploding. Its box office is set to become the world's biggest by next year.


But China's central government closely controls which movies can be seen, limiting foreign films to a quota of about 34 a year. Government-sanctioned co-productions, however, are exempt from the quota.

Every film released in China is vetted by government censors; some of the restricted elements include attacks on state authority, supernatural elements and homosexuality.

Last year, Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, secured a Chinese release date only after removing scenes involving LGBTQ content.

Censors also restrict any reference to what journalist Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian calls the Three Ts: Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet or Taiwan.

And while foreign films only receive 25 per cent of the box office revenue, the potential payoff is high. When Avengers: Endgame opened in China, it earned $143 million its first weekend.

Watch: How Hollywood changed the new Top Gun and other films to suit China

How Hollywood Changes for China
  • 18 hours ago
  • 0:44

CBC's Eli Glasner shows how Hollywood is changing content for Chinese approval. 0:44
Allen-Ebrahimian, who was the lead reporter for the ICIJ's China Cables project, lived in the country for four years. There is growing pressure on film companies to portray China in a more positive light, she says.

This can be seen in B-movies, such as Wolf Warrior 2, where a Chinese commando saves Africans from bloodthirsty American thugs, or The Meg, the shark movie which depicts China as on the cutting edge of oceanic research.

Allen-Ebrahimian says efforts to amplify Chinese propaganda are often seen in co-productions, such as the recent animated movie Abominable. The film featured a map depicting the so-called "Nine-Dash Line," which China uses to extend its domain into the international waters of the South China Sea. Although the map was only featured briefly, the inclusion led to the movie being banned in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.


This scene from Abominable shows the contentious nine-dash line on a map of the South China Sea. (Dreamworks Studios )
Canadians caught as China flexes its might
As China flexes its movie muscles, smaller producers, such as Massey, are getting caught in the middle.

Soon after Meng's arrest, he says, a seven-city celebration of Canadian films was also cancelled. Massey was arranging for Meditation Park star Sandra Oh to walk the red carpet when he learned theatres were told not to sponsor the event.

Still, Massey remains fascinated and horrified by China. When he's standing on a street corner, he says he feels that he's witnessing history. "There is a huge amount of hubris growing in China; they feel entitled and that they will become the most powerful economy on the planet," he said.

Canadian filmmaker Jordan Paterson is also feeling the effects of that hubris first-hand. With a budget of $30 million, he hopes to bring the story of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune to Chinese audiences with his film Phoenix. The pioneer in blood transfusions worked in China in the late 1930s and met with revered Communist leader Mao Zedong.


Director and producer Jordan Paterson holds up copies of the book Phoenix, which tells the story of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune. Paterson bought the rights to the book and is in the process of bringing a $30-million version of Bethune's story to the big screen for Chinese audiences. (Dillon Hodgin )
But the process has become difficult, Paterson says, since the regulation of films was brought under direct Communist Party control. The project is currently stalled, waiting for approval in the department responsible for works of historical significance. A process that was supposed to take six months has stretched to a year-and-a-half so far.

The censors have tripled-checked everything, Paterson says, and scrutinized the scenes between Bethune and Mao Zedong. He's made minor changes to the script. Now all he can do it wait.

Like many, Paterson hopes influence from the market and demands from the audience could lead China to loosen restrictions. But Allen-Ebrahimian says a recent incident with the NBA, in which a team official voiced support for the Hong Kong protests, suggests the opposite.

"Once China grants you market access, they own you — unless you're willing to sacrifice profit for principle," she said.

WATCH: Beijing film fan talks about Hollywood's attempts to win over audiences

China movie fan talks about Hollywood
  • 18 hours ago
  • 0:35

Ren Hui, a moviegoer in Beijing talks about how Hollywood is trying to appeal to Chinese audiences. 0:35
Why Hollywood's attempts 'feel fake'
And how do Chinese audiences feels about all the attention?

Over the weekend in Beijing, the theatres were full for the opening of the American murder-mystery Knives Out. But some of the moviegoers who spoke to CBC News were unimpressed by Hollywood's efforts.

A ticket-buyer identified only as Mr. Gee says Hollywood productions are too commercialized and their treatment of Chinese culture is superficial.

Another moviegoer, Ren Hui, agrees. She's noticed how Hollywood films incorporate Chinese elements, but says the lack of authenticity feels fake. Good movies will naturally get recognized by the audience, she says.

"If you add Chinese elements just for the sake of having Chinese presence to appease us, the audience will know."