Spying case heightens China-Canada tensions, reflects splitin Ottawa
OTTAWA (Reuters) - China'sdecision to investigate two Canadians for suspected spying highlights a sharpand unexpected deterioration in bilateral ties just months ahead of a trip by Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Beijing.
The detention of the couple, long-time residentsin China who ran a coffeeshop on the border with North Korea,could also make life tougher for the small group of Canadian governmentministers who favor closer economic links with Beijing.
Chinese authorities are investigatingthe couple - Kevin Garratt and his wife Julia Dawn Garratt - for suspectedtheft of military and intelligence information and for threatening nationalsecurity.
The detention came less than a weekafter Canada accused Chinesehackers of breaking into a key computer network, the first time it has eversingled out Chinafor such a security breach. Beijingdismissed the allegations as "irresponsible."
The two incidents look set toovershadow a visit by Harper to Beijing inNovember for a regional summit which could include a first meeting with China'sPresident Xi Jinping.
Since taking power in early 2006, Canada's right-leaning Conservatives haveadopted an inconsistent policy on China,reflecting splits between pro-business members and social conservatives who aresuspicious of Beijing.
"There is a deep division within caucus and within cabinet on how torespond ... there is a clear battle," said Paul Evans, a professor at the University of British Columbia and one of Canada'sleading experts on China.
Evans said attempts by the cabinet toagree on a Chinastrategy had failed in recent years.
An official in Harper's officedeclined to comment, saying merely that "we have a frank and maturedialogue on a variety of levels with the Chinese".
Social conservatives are influentialin the Western oil-rich province of Alberta, whichattracts around 80 percent of total Chinese energy investment.
The unofficial leader is EmploymentMinister Jason Kenney, who party officials say is very cautious about gettingtoo close to China.
Government sources say Kenney isopposed inside cabinet by members such as Foreign Minister John Baird and TradeMinister Ed Fast, who favor more investment by China to boost a flagging Canadianeconomy.
政府消息人士说Kenney反对内阁内部比如外交部长John Baird和贸易部长Ed Fast所支持的更多中国投资来提升萎靡的加拿大经济。
"Some ministers are for, someare against, while the majority are wary," one veteran Conservative toldReuters.
"Certainly no one is going tostand up right now and talk about the need for closer ties with China."
Harper last visited China in February 2012 and vowed to do all hecould to boost exports of Canadian crude while calling for more Chineseinvestment in Canada.
Yet when the Chinese did make a movea few months later - state-owned CNOOC Ltd bid for energy firm Nexen, based inAlberta - it appeared to catch Canada off-guard.
Amid rare scenes of open discordamong Conservatives over the wisdom of the deal, Harper approved it in December2012 but slapped restrictions on how much of the Canadian energy sector thatChinese state-owned enterprises could buy.
Spokespeople for Harper and ForeignMinister John Baird declined to comment on any aspect of the case against theCanadian couple.
The Garratts' eldest son, Simeon,told Reuters that Canadian embassy officials are in contact with his brother,Peter, in Dandong.
Canadian officials say plans arebeing made for Harper to tour major cities in China in November.
"This (spying) incident isundoubtedly going to have a chilling effect on Mr Harper's meetings with theChinese authorities," said Brock University professor Charles Burton, a formerCanadian diplomat who served two tours in China.
The decision to allow the Nexen dealto go ahead was a clear defeat for Kenney, who is one of the favorites toeventually replace Harper.
"It's now getting caught up inelectoral politics, potential succession politics in the ConservativeParty," said Evans. The next federal election is due in October 2015.
Harper kept his distance from Chinafor years, citing its human rights record, but under pressure from businessstarted to make an effort to improve ties.
Government officials say China is an obvious source for some of the C$650billion ($590 billion) investment in the natural resources patch that Ottawa says will be neededover the next decade or so.
And yet the split inside Harper'sConservatives is also reflected among Canadians in general.
A poll for the Vancouver-based AsiaPacific Foundation of Canada in June showed Canadian support for engagementwith Asia is declining. Only 41 percent saw China's growing economic power as more of anopportunity than a threat for Canada,down from 48 percent in 2013. ($1=$1.10 Canadian)
China pulling a tit for tat with a couple that probably aren'tspies. It's about time for the West to start sanctioning China for theirterritory grabs in the Pacific before they pull a Putin on us. Do it now andprevent something bad from happening, or do it later after it's happened whenit'll be harder to roll them back, your choice.
This is what happened. The Garratt couple'scoffee business is doing well. A Chinese entrepreneur wants to take it away.
I'm not sure what this article is saying. Itsounds kind of nuts, so I'm just putting this out there.
Is this article trying to say that theCanadians are mad at the Chinese for catching their spies??? That literallymakes no sense to me. You would think that the people getting SPIED ON would bethe angry ones. Are the Canadians mad for getting caught??? Bizarre.
Sounds like thugs are trying to rough up theCanadians! Ethics are for the rest of the world, not China! They are scared ofChristians proselytising!
if these suspect are not Canadian spies, whycanada regime is mobilizing huge propaganda network to threaten china govt。 such action might affect relationship between china and canada?it donot make any sense.there are many cases where canadian found to be guilty inother part of world, i have not seen such strong reaction by canadian govt.
With virtually no details available to thepublic, recent history tells us that the Chinese are more concerned withChristian prosletyzing by this couple - which is reported elsewhere - andslapped on the espionage charges as being a more convenient, palatable anddirect rebuttal to the Canadian cyber-espionage charges... Anyway, who wants toset up a coffee-shop in Northern China next tothe North Korean border...unless they had some ulterior activities?
Really china is upset about spying?......Thenerve after most of their technology has been stolen from the west and usedagainst us economically, militarily, etc. Maybe we ought to react to theirtransgressions with a united front and tell them to keep their lead ladengarbage errr consumer goods made from their prisons and child labor! They aresuch a paranoid government that the mere mention of Tiananmen Square shakes them to the core! Rotten Rotten!!!!
why people keep forgetting that china playsdirty is beyond me.
Looks like Canada has succumbed to theAmerican disease.
F Canada. Go China!
Why should anyone bother investigating.Bloggers seem to have scoops on "what it is really about". They have"inside" information. Lol.
The whole incident may be an election ploy setup by Chinaand Harper. Harper's impending journey to China in a few months may result inHarper bringing these two Canucks home in the same plane and Harper hopes hewill shine and smell like roses for the voters in next year's election. But myfeeling is he will be defeated and booted out of office anyway ploy or no ploy.
They are working for CIA, not for goverment of Canada.
- 西方恶炒中国网络攻击 韩国:我们天天心惊胆战