Sunday, June 9, 2024

Communist China has been directly interfering in Canadian media via journalists, execs: int’l report

 Communist China has been directly interfering in Canadian media via journalists, execs: int’l report

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According to a National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) report tabled June 3, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been interfering with Canadian media outlets by pressuring them to write favorably about the communist regime.   

The report found that China has been “interfering with Canadian media content via direct engagement with Canadian media executives and journalists.” 

A summary of six redacted sentences, which “were deleted to remove injurious or privileged information,” described how the PRC interfered with Canadian news.   

Examples included “paying to publish media articles without attribution, sponsoring media travel to the PRC, pressuring journalists to withdraw articles and creating false accounts on social media to spread disinformation.”  

This is hardly the first time China’s meddling in mainstream media has been exposed. In 2021, Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault warned that foreign interference in media had “become normalized,” especially with ethnic media outlets.    

“In particular, PRC media influence activities in Canada have become normalized,” the briefing memo stated.   

The report followed a March survey which revealed that the majority of Canadians believe that legacy media journalists and government officials are not trustworthy and are “lying to them” regularly.  

In 2013, Trudeau praised China for its “basic dictatorship” and has labeled the authoritarian nation as his favorite country other than his own. 

Beyond influencing the media, China is also alleged to be directly involved in the Canadian electoral process.

In April, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) confirmed that China was working to help elect regime-friendly Canadian MPs.  

Later that same month, CSIS director David Vigneault testified that he gave Trudeau multiple warnings that agents of the Communist Chinese Party were going after Conservative MPs, with Trudeau denying he ever got such warnings. 

As LifeSiteNews previously reported, details from a “top secret” memo have shown that Trudeau’s office was giving explicit warnings by Canadian intelligence that agents of the CCP were an “existential threat to Canadian democracy.”  

As a consequence of these allegations, the Foreign Interference Commission was convened to “examine and assess the interference by China, Russia, and other foreign states or non-state actors, including any potential impacts, to confirm the integrity of, and any impacts on, the 43rd and 44th general elections (2019 and 2021 elections) at the national and electoral district levels.”  

The Commission is being headed by Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, who had earlier said that she and her lawyers will remain “impartial” and will not be influenced by politics and began January 29. 

In January, Hogue said that she would “uncover the truth whatever it may be.” 

The Truth Behind The Intrusion Of A Chinese Vessel Carrying More Than 6000 Sharks

 The Truth Behind The Intrusion Of A Chinese Vessel Carrying More Than 6000 Sharks Into The Galápagos Marine Reserve In 2017

Jul 29, 2020

Recently, Ecuador has sounded the alarm after its navy discovered a huge fishing fleet of mostly Chinese-flagged vessels some 200 miles from the Galápagos Islands, the archipelago which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

This invoked memories of a 2017 incident with a Chinese vessel Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999.

In 2017, a Chinese-flagged ship loaded with more than 6,000 sharks was caught in a famous marine reserve in Ecuador. The scandal shocked China and the rest of the world. I was the only reporter who followed the whole story. The experience was as interesting as a detective story.

Under a series of coincidence, I found the wife of the captain of Fuyuan Yuleng 999 in a few days, but she chose to remain silent.

In 2017, a Chinese vessel Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, was caught in the Galápagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador on August 13 for illegally possessing and transporting 6,223 sharks. The 20 crew members on board were sentenced to one to four years in prison by a court in Ecuador for “destroying wildlife species”.

The Galápagos Islands’ unique ecosystem and biological diversity inspired Charles Darwin to craft the Theory of Evolution after an expedition in 1835.

In particular, the waters around the islands are home to the largest concentration of sharks in the world, including several varieties that are near extinction.

At first, the local people there mistakenly thought that the Chinese ship was a fishing boat, all sharks were from their hunting of the protected area.

Later, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued relevant announcements. According to the clarification of the Chinese authorities, Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was actually a transport vessel, not a fishing vessel. They say the ship loaded sharks from two Taiwanese fishing boats and then strayed into Ecuador to avoid a storm.

So they didn’t admit that the sharks in the cabin came from China’s own fishing boats but from Taiwanese boats.

After finding out the owner of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 “Fuzhou Honglong Ocean Aquatic Products Co., LTD”, I went to the location of the company in Fuzhou city.

I found the specific address of Honglong company on the Internet, but one very interesting thing was that I saw three companies named Global Deep Ocean Fishing, Pingtan Marine Enterprise Ltd. and Pingtan County Ocean Fishing Group on the 18th and 19th floors of the building respectively, but there was no sign of Honglong.

But when I asked the security guards of the building, they said that Honglong company was in the upstairs, while the people at the reception desk of the three companies said that Honglong company did not exist at all, I had gone to the wrong place.

After searching up and down the building several times, I found a notice posted on the lobby, which showed the Honglong company was in the building. I felt that the Honglong company was indeed in the building, but it was hidden behind the three companies with different names.

So I published the first report, revealing that Honglong and Pingtan Marine Enterprise Ltd. (Nasdaq: PME) were both controlled by the Zhuo family in Fujian province and both companies had the same office address in Fuzhou.

PME is one of the largest U.S.-listed marine services operating company in China.

According to PME’s 2016 annual report released in March 2017, the majority shareholder of Honglong is the spouse of Zhuo Xinrong, the majority shareholder and chairman and CEO of PME.

Honglong changed its business in May and June 2016. Zhuo Xinrong’s wife transferred the shares to Fujian Yihai Investment Co., Ltd. with Zhuo Longjie as its major shareholder. Zhuo Longjie is also a director of PME. He is Zhuo Xinrong’s fourth brother, and Zhuo Xinrong’s former name was Zhuo Longxiong before he moved to Hong Kong in October 2010.

To put it simply, Mr. Zhuo is the head of the listed company, while his brother, Zhuo Longjie, is the actual majority shareholder in Honglong.

After the report was issued, The chairman of PME, Zhuo Xinrong, contacted me the next day to explain to me the context of the incident.

Zhuo Xinrong

In his office, Zhuo Xinrong told me that the source of the sharks was two Taiwanese fishing boats. The captain of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 and the Captain of the Taiwan fishing boat have been friends for more than ten or twenty years. “When the captain saw that his old friend’s catch was full, and he had space on his boat, he helped his friend to carry it.”

Zhuo Xinrong stressed that Honglong is his brother’s company, he had no detail of what his brother was doing, and he declined to comment on whether several of his company’s fishing boats had met with Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 during that trip.

So all the responsibility of shark fishing was still placed on the two mysterious Taiwanese fishing boats.

I also went to the Mingcheng Aquatic Products Trading Center in Mawei District, Fuzhou, which is also the largest import and distribution center of seafood in Asia.

I saw a lot of stalls selling sharks, including chilled sharks caught off the coast of China, and a lot of frozen sharks caught off the deep ocean in large freezers.

They said the sharks in the freezer had been caught off West Africa and their fins had been cut off.

In order to track the trace of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, I rode a shared bike around the dock for a long time. However, the area where these fishing boats were located was a border restricted area, and people were not allowed to cross it.

At that time, I was so exhausted that I almost wanted to give up. When I passed the service room of Fuzhou Border Inspection Station, I chose to go in and take a chance.

The staff inside, of course, refused to say anything. I went inside two times and took a picture of the dynamic berth chart because it had a few phone numbers that looked like the captains of several fishing boats.

One of them, “captain 999”, managed to catch my eyes.

I quickly searched WeChat through the mobile phone number, and the name of Chen Kongzhang, the captain of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, and his real photo came up.

After many inquiries, I learned that most of the ocean fishing boat crew came from Pingtan Pingtan County. So I went there and walked around for several days in several villages and towns where fishermen were concentrated. One by one, I asked people whether they knew Chen Kongzhang or not. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Finally, I found out that the 20 crew members of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, including the captain, Chen Kongzhang, were all from Pingtan.

Pingtan, the closest place to Taiwan from mainland China, is made up of more than 100 islands. Coastal residents make their living by fishing, especially the villagers who previously lived on Xiaoxiang Island. Hundreds of them work on ocean fishing vessels.

Chen Kongzhang had registered residence in Hulou village on the Xiaoxiang Island. Due to the frequent occurrence of geological disasters and other reasons, all the villagers of Xiaoxiang Island have been moved out of the island and most of them have moved to Pingtan county.

Coincidentally, when I arrived at the town hall, the heads of the villages where the crew were living were all gathered for a meeting. That is to say, I met up with all the village heads of the crew of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 at a time, what a coincidence!

But something very strange happened.

These village leaders were very enthusiastic and introduced me the names of the crew members of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 and who their families were. Several family members agreed to be interviewed on the phone at first, but a few minutes after I put the phone down, they would send me a text message, saying that they were sorry that they had a personal problem or some sudden emergency and refused to be interviewed. Many family members of the crew were in such a strange state.

One of the village leaders took me to meet captain Chen Kongzhang’s wife in person, but unfortunately, she was very cold to me and hardly said a word.

The captain’s wife told me that she had not been contacted by her husband since he left Fuzhou on July 7th and that neither the government nor the company that employed Chen had contacted her since the detention.

Was it really the case?

In order to uncover the truth of the incident, I collected a lot of evidence and getting closer and closer to what really happened. A year later, the crew and their families, who felt cheated by Honglong, were also willing to tell me what they had been through.

After the incident, both the Website of the Galápagos National Park and the Official Chinese statement said that the sharks on the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 were from two Taiwanese fishing boats, Hai Fang 301 and Hai Fang 302.

But I looked through fisheries databases all over the world and couldn’t find any fishing boats with these names. Taiwan’s fisheries agency also denied the existence of the two boats.

It wasn’t until I got the verdict and the transcript of the trial that I found the legal documents showed that the names of the two Taiwanese fishing boats on the transshipment list were “Hai Feng 301” and “Hai Feng 302”, not “Hai Fang 301” and “Hai Fang 302”. The cause was a “misheard handwriting error” by Galapagos National Park staff.

The court investigation also revealed that the crew’s account of the source of the sharks on the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 actually changed: when the fishing boat was intercepted, the captain said the catch came from a Chinese fishing boat and later changed to a Taiwanese fishing boat. The confessions of several defendants claimed that the fishing boat was Taiwan flagged, and the transfer slips also showed that it was from a Taiwanese fishing boat.

At the same time, several tech companies are telling a different story through their data.

Figures released by a monitoring project SkyTruth and an Israel company Windward showed Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 once appeared around a fleet, composed of four vessels including Fu Yuan Yu 7861, Fu Yuan Yu 7862, Fu Yuan Yu 7865 and Fu Yuan Yu 7866. They “dated” each other for more than ten hours, most likely carrying a large number of cargo transfers.

In addition, there were no other suspicious vessels around Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999.

Fu Yuan Yu 7861 and Fu Yuan Yu 7862 belong to PME, Fu Yuan Yu 7865 and Fu Yuan Yu 7866 belong to Honglong. There was a high probability that these four fishing boats were the source of the sharks onboard the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999.

Zhuo Xinrong lied!

We were never able to reach the Ministry of Agriculture of China after the report was published. However, the Ministry of Agriculture later issued a document to inform the results of the “Galápagos shark case”, they decided to suspend Honglong’s qualification as a fishery enterprise and all 78 fishing vessels’ fishery projects, ordered the company to stop production for rectification, and put the captain of Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 into the “blacklist” of fishery.

Then it was in November 2018. At that time, I was on a business trip in Guangzhou when I was contacted by a crew member’s family. He also introduced me to the crew members who had been released from Ecuador for an interview.

The truth is not unexpected: the true culprit of 6,223 sharks on board the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 is Honglong!

The crew told me that about July 7, Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, as a transport ship, set off from Fuzhou port in Fujian, China, and sailed to the open sea. It was originally intended to go directly to Peru to load the squid caught by Honglong Company.

Along the way, they received orders from the company to first load some sharks and then continue to Peru to load the squid. The sharks were also caught by Honglong’s own fishing boats.

The so-called Taiwanese fishing boats never existed! In addition to Hong Long’s fishing boats, Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 had no contact with other fishing boats!

However, on their way to Peru, They suddenly encountered a storm at sea, so the captain decided to escape the storm in Ecuador. It was this decision that finally led them to the Galápagos Islands and soon they were arrested by the local police in Ecuador.

Crew members said, Honglong’s fishing boats caught sharks in the wrong ocean area, they could only catch tuna there. So if they admitted they were fishing for sharks, the company would certainly be punished by the Ministry of Agriculture, so the company persuaded the captain to make up a story of Taiwanese fishing boats.

After several trials, a total of 20 crew members were sentenced to one to three years in prison. Sixteen of the crew members were released and returned to China in August 2018, while there were still four members including the captain remaining behind bars in Ecuador.

I also learned why the crew’s families avoided my interviews. Honglong told them not to disclose any information to reporters, they also told them that if they cooperated well, they could guarantee that the crew wouldn’t go to jail, even if the Ecuadorian government sentenced them to jail, the company also had a way to replace them with other people and let the crew immediately came back to their families.

It wasn’t until a year later that the crew’s families finally figured out that Honglong had been telling lies to them, so they came back to me to tell the truth.