Pro-Beijing Groups Bought up Medical Supplies to Ship to China, Leaving Canada Short

Pro-Beijing Groups Bought up Medical Supplies to Ship to China, Leaving Canada Short
Workers transfer medical supplies at a warehouse in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 4, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

While Canadian health professionals continue to struggle with a shortage of vital medical supplies in the face of the pandemic, it has come to light that several pro-Beijing groups in Canada shipped large amounts of masks and other personal protective equipment to China in late January and throughout February following calls to do so by the Chinese regime.

According to an article on the website of state-owned China News Service, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry not only directed the Chinese diaspora in Canada to buy up all available protective equipment and send it back to China, it also convinced some officials from the three levels of government to assist.

“Under the guidance of the Chinese Consulate General in Montreal, local Chinese-funded institutions have established an emergency mechanism … more than 20 Chinese Students and Scholars’ Associations in the consular district jointly established an anti-epidemic liaison coordination group,” states the article, translated from Chinese.

The article praised Montreal Consul General Chen Xueming for taking immediate action by meeting with Quebec's health minister and communicating with more than 10 government officials regarding anti-epidemic measures and seeking cooperation between the Quebec and Chinese governments.

Local Chinese-Canadian township associations, alumni associations, and academic federations all undertook expansive efforts to secure donations of both money and medical equipment to send to China.

The Chinese Consulate in Montreal further coordinated Air China, Qatar Airways, and local express delivery companies to provide transportation facilities for donated materials from Canadian Chinese communities and institutions in order to get them to China as soon as possible.

By the end of February, the Consulate had assisted in the transfer of over 30 tonnes of equipment, including masks and protective clothing.

Meanwhile, the federal government shipped 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China in early February, depleting Canada’s reserves even more.

In late March, Beijing switched gears. Seeking to promote itself as a global leader in combating the pandemic, the regime began shipping donations of medical supplies to other countries including Canada, but in many cases the supplies were found to be defective. Spain, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Turkey all reportedly received faulty masks and other equipment from companies in China.

Approximately 62,000 masks distributed to long-term care homes in Toronto on March 28 that were made in China have been recalled due to tearing and ripping while in use, according to news reports.

Global Sourcing Through United Front

As many countries deal with escalating outbreaks and a shortage of protective equipment, the Chinese authorities proceeded to buy up billions of masks as well as hundreds of tons of other critical medical supplies globally.

“Keep on buying while sending back to China [medical supplies], and try your best to buy as much as possible,” reads one article posted on the official website of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, an agency dedicated to implementing the regime’s agenda inside and outside China.

In the West, the United Front exerts influence in Chinese student groups at colleges and universities, Chinese chambers of commerce, and Chinese associations—all of whom are known to hold activities in support of Beijing. The United Front has encouraged all overseas Chinese to follow in the associations’ footsteps to buy up all available medical materials and send them back to China.

Chinese firms and overseas Chinese organizations are the main means to realize Beijing’s global sourcing, buying up stock from Canada, United States, Europe, Australia, and other countries.

In Canada, several groups, including Guangdong Community Association of Canada, Canton Chamber of Commerce Canada, Hunan Fellow Association of Canada, Chinese Benevolent Association, Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, to name a few, have been actively involved in raising funds and supplies to send to China.

According to Sing Tao Daily, Xue Xiaomei, president of the Canadian Sichuanese Friendship Association, claimed the group had raised 1,384 cartons of medical supplies including masks, protective clothing, goggles, and other items worth about $445,000.

Wang Chengjun, deputy Consul General of the Chinese Consulate General in Vancouver, paid a visit to the association to congratulate the members on their achievement.

On Feb. 26, Shandong Phoenix New Media reported that Xiwang International Trade Co. Ltd. actively responded to the call of Yantai City in Shandong Province and proceeded to purchase relevant medical supplies through its overseas branches in Canada, Europe, United States, and Poland.

Shandong Phoenix New Media reported on Feb. 26 that Gord Dejong, vice president of Xiwang Group, personally led employees on a search for medical supplies, collecting 100,000 gloves and more than 1,000 sets of high-standard protective clothing. China Capital Airlines flew the donated supplies from Vancouver to Qingdao.

The Chinese Consulate General in Calgary, which helped facilitate the shipping of the items, commended Xiwang’s efforts.

Canadian Chinese Media News reported that on Feb. 3, Fuwei Global Sourcing Co. Ltd., a member of the Canadian-China Business Innovation Alliance, shipped from Toronto to Beijing its first batch of donated medical protective clothing, worth a total of $30,000, via Hainan Airlines with the assistance of the Chinese Consulate General in Toronto.

The article noted that second and third batches of donated materials would be also sent, and that Fuwei had been entrusted to implement and send to China a large amount of protective equipment.

On Feb. 17, Hainan Airlines left Toronto for Beijing loaded with over 100 cartons of protective equipment donated by nine Chinese-funded enterprises and Chinese societies in Canada. Since Jan. 29, Hainan Airlines has shipped 67 batches of medical materials from Toronto to China, totalling about 56 tonnes, according to its Toronto office’s website.

The website said Hainan Airlines “actively responded to the call of the Chinese government and shouldered the responsibility of transportation by opening a green channel” to provide free air transportation services for materials donated by governments, charities, various organizations, overseas Chinese, and so on.

Andi Shi of the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada told CBC News on Feb. 16 that his organization had stopped accepting large donations for medical equipment because there was such a limited supply of the items needed.

Shi said suppliers could not fill any more orders. “We are told that they will not sell to us,” he said. “They want to keep the inventory for Canadian hospitals.”

On a global scale, between Jan. 24 and Feb. 29, China imported 2.46 billion shipping cartons of supplies for epidemic prevention, valued at 8.21 billion yuan (US$1.158 billion), according to official customs data announced on March 7. Among them were 2.02 billion facial masks and 25.38 million protective suits.