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China's Vancouver consulate recruits volunteer corps, raising concerns of foreign interference in city
The volunteer group was ostensibly created to assist Chinese nationals who run into legal trouble or physical danger in Canada
VANCOUVER — A recent decision by the consulate-general of the People’s Republic of China to form a corps of citizen volunteers in this city is raising concerns about improper foreign interference in Canadian affairs.
The volunteer group, whose recruits include some prominent Chinese-Canadian community leaders, was ostensibly created to assist Chinese nationals who run into legal trouble or physical danger in Canada. Being a consular volunteer is an “honour and a responsibility” and in keeping with the “watchful solidarity of the Chinese people,” says a recent posting on the consulate’s website.
But some China watchers are suspicious of the initiative.
“I believe that there’s more to the consulate’s efforts than simply training consular volunteers, and that they may be looking to enlist Chinese citizens, and even Canadians, to promote the Communist Party’s political agenda,” said David Mulroney, Canada’s former ambassador to China and a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.
The National Post invited Chinese consular officials to explain the role of the volunteer corps and to respond to critics’ concerns. In an email, they replied: “Please refer to our official website.”
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