In 2012, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government closed the Iranian embassy and sent its diplomats home. The decision came about due to the government realizing the hopelessness of pursuing any sort of productive relationship with the regime in Tehran. Calling Iran the “most significant threat to world peace,” the government cited the regime’s support for terrorism, its support for the Assad regime in Syria, its horrific antisemitism and threats against Israel, and its dishonesty regarding the pursuit of its nuclear program.
The unfortunate reality is that some regimes present themselves as such bad-faith actors that maintaining diplomatic channels seems futile, as it is clear there is little hope of conducting any worthwhile diplomacy that is mutually beneficial.
This argument, and the wisdom of expelling diplomats, is worth exploring when it comes to communist China—particularly pertaining to its ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, whose utterances in recent years have made it very clear that the last thing the Chinese Communist Party desires is an honest, reciprocal relationship with Canada.
For a while now, the Trudeau government has been teasing its imminent decision on whether Chinese telecom giant Huawei will be allowed participate in Canada’s 5G network. Seeing the evidence that has rapidly accumulated of the close connection between Huawei and the CCP’s intelligence apparatus—along with the fact that many of our allies have made decisions to either ban or restrict the company from their 5G—it is rather clear that our move should be to follow suit.
Knowing this, Cong has resorted to issuing brazen threats against Canada if it decides to shut out Huawei. Last week, he told reporters he hopes Canada’s decision “will be a positive momentum for the relationship,” or “they will pay a price for their erroneous deeds and actions.”
Given that the CCP has demonstrated its willingness to retaliate when Ottawa does something it disapproves of, ranging from economic penalties to hostage-taking, Cong’s threat could mean a variety of things; nevertheless, it is an open threat against Canada if it makes a decision based on responsible assessments of its own security interests.
It also comes from a man who is a reliable peddler of the CCP propaganda talking point that any criticism of the regime amounts to interference in China’s internal affairs. Before the parliamentary vote that eventually yielded a majority agreeing that the CCP’s actions towards the Uyghurs amounted to genocide, Cong lashed out against accusations of genocide, calling them “unfounded” and “counter to the facts,” insisting that any action the regime has taken has been to stamp out terrorism.
Cong has also been a serial disinformer when it comes to the pressing issue of Taiwan, over which the CCP’s militancy might eventually provoke a disastrous conflict. Making another set of subtle threats to inform Ottawa’s decision-making on this file, Cong claimed erroneously that there can be no compromise on Taiwan as the “status quo” is “one China” with Taiwan as an inalienable part. He has distorted history by falsely citing the UN Declarations he said identify Taiwan as such (they don’t) and portraying Canadian foreign policy as an endorsement of such a position (former Foreign Affairs Minister Mitchell Sharp established Ottawa’s position in an address to the House in October 1970 that said Ottawa only “took note” of the claim).
Aside from Cong’s antics, there’s convincing evidence that China’s embassies have been used as a vessel for Beijing’s United Front to conduct its work of stifling opposition to the regime. A number of security experts have alleged that, through the United Front, embassies have connected themselves to student groups on campuses who then help the Front target and keep tabs on those who oppose the regime, such as pro-Hong Kong or Uyghur activists. Responses to these allegations from the embassies have included obfuscation and wildly accusing activists of trying to “sabotage prosperity and stability” in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
The reality has long been established that China’s envoys are not good-faith actors operating within the confines of typical diplomacy and are making it easier for the Beijing regime—whose power has indeed now become the greatest threat to world peace—to threaten our security from within.
As this becomes ever more clear, sending China’s envoys home might be a prudent measure to have on the table.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.