Canada’s ruling establishment is doubling down on its anti-China campaign, which echoes and supports Washington’s diplomatic, economic and military-strategic offensive against China.
Aimed at whipping up popular hostility to China and justifying aggression, this campaign reached a new pitch with the publication earlier this month of an “open letter” demanding that China be stripped of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics due to its alleged “genocide” against the country’s Uyghur minority.
The letter was signed by legislators from all five parties represented in the federal parliament and all four parties in the Quebec National Assembly—from the Conservatives and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to the nominally “left” New Democrats and Québec Solidaire.
The letter made a series of inflammatory and unsubstantiated allegations and sought to draw an equal sign between Beijing’s actions and the monstrous, unparalleled crimes of Hitler’s Third Reich.
“We have a unique opportunity, to come together with all the world’s humanitarians and democrats and take action by refusing to participate in this global sports festival, on the grounds that doing so would amount to taking part in a sinister, self-aggrandizing spectacle staged for the benefit of a regime that is perpetrating the worst possible crimes against humanity against its own people,” rails the letter, without providing a shred of evidence for its lurid claims. “Some may argue,” it continues, “that sports and politics should not mix. We would respond that when genocide is happening, it is no longer a matter of politics, but of human rights and crimes against humanity.”
The letter was initiated by Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe. Other signatories include New Democrats Heather McPherson and Jenny Kwan, the Green Party’s Elizabeth May and Paul Manly, Québec Solidaire’s Sol Zanetti and various Liberal and Conservative MPs.
The demand that China be stripped of hosting the Olympics has also been endorsed by Green Party leader Annamie Paul. Last week, she told a press conference that Canada should consider joining with the US to co-host the games instead.
In addition to demonstrating the readiness of Canada’s purported “left” parties to join with the most rabid right-wing sections of the country’s ruling elite in promoting virulent anti-China propaganda, the letter shows that when it comes to promoting the predatory interests and militarist agenda of North American imperialism, there is no daylight between the federalist and indépendantiste factions of Quebec’s political establishment.
The letter was signed by representatives of the ruling right-wing Quebec nationalist Coalition Avenir Quebec, the pro-independence Parti Québécois, the staunchly federalist Quebec Liberal Party, and the pseudo-left and pro-independence Québec Solidaire. Their claim to be standing up for the rights of the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority, is especially cynical given the foul campaign that Quebec’s political establishment has mounted, with support from all four parties, for over a decade against immigrants and religious minorities, especially Muslims.
Participating in the games in China, the signatories declared, would be akin to supporting the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which came to be known as the “Games of shame,” after Hitler used them to showcase his Nazi dictatorship and the supposed superiority of the “Aryan race.”
If the politicians involved can make such grotesque historical comparisons and provocative unsubstantiated claims, it is because they know that their demonization of China dovetails with the agenda of US imperialism. The Canadian ruling class has long enjoyed the closest economic and military-security partnership with its southern neighbor.
Washington is determined to thwart China’s rise as an economic and geopolitical competitor, through all means at its disposal, including war. Over the past decade, beginning with Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” and expanded dramatically under the presidency of the fascist Donald Trump, Washington has ratcheted up economic and military-strategic pressure against China.
Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken have lost no time in signaling that they intend to continue and intensify what the new president calls “extreme competition” with China.
The only difference, as the Canadian “open letter” indicates, is that instead of the bullying and thuggish language peculiar to Trump and his far-right followers, Biden, the Democrats, and their Canadian allies prefer to pursue Washington’s and Ottawa’s imperialist interests behind a veil of cynical propaganda about “human rights” and “democracy,” and, if possible, through closer collaboration with the other G-7 imperialist powers. To this end, Biden has said that a priority for his administration is forging a coalition of “democracies” to counter Chinese “expansionism.”
“Human rights” imperialism
In pursuit of the global geostrategic and economic interests of the American and Canadian financial oligarchies, no lie is too great. By 1936, thousands of workers and other leftists, both Communists and Social Democrats, had fallen victim to Nazi death squads. Tens of thousands more were confined to horrific abuse in concentration camps.
Moreover, Hitler had already set Germany on a path leading to World War II and the Holocaust. The previous year, the Führer had overseen the imposition of the anti-Semitic and racist Nuremberg Laws, which stripped Jews of basic citizenship rights and made sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews a criminal offence.
This open and flagrant discrimination was the prelude to the systematic extermination of six million Jews across Europe during World War II. It was in response to this unprecedented historic crime, perpetrated in pursuit of the German imperialists’ mad drive for world domination, that the term “genocide” was anchored in international law.
There is no evidence to back up the claim that Beijing is engaged in a genocide. The police state regime headed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) defends the interests of the oligarchs, who have enriched themselves through the super-exploitation of the working class since the CCP restored capitalist property relations, beginning in the 1980s.
Undoubtedly, it uses state repression to crush separatist and oppositional sentiment among the Uyghurs of the northwestern province of Xinjiang. But as the World Socialist Web Site has previously explained, the repressive apparatus of the CCP regime is directed above all at the working class throughout China.
The “evidence” used by Western politicians to justify their claims has been culled from politically motivated “research” conducted by wealthy Uighur exiles patronized by Western intelligence agencies, and hard-right anti-communist groups, like the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington.
The incendiary charge that China is perpetrating a genocide against the Uyghurs is a propaganda device aimed at drumming up popular support for, and justifying silencing the critics of, aggression and preparations for all all-out war against nuclear-armed China.
Such phony human rights crusades have been mounted time and again by Washington, with Ottawa’s support, over the past quarter century, beginning with the unsubstantiated allegations of genocide against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia in the late 1990s. This served as the justification for NATO’s savage air war on Belgrade and other Serbian cities.
Canada’s ruling elite has played an outsized role in the promotion of “human rights” as an ideological justification for imperialist aggression and war, as illustrated by the Chrétien-Martin Liberal government’s financial support for the Responsibility to Protect Commission. It created the pro-war R2P doctrine that served as a “humanitarian” cover for NATO’s 2011 regime change war in Libya which left the oil-rich North African country in ruins.
The intrepid warriors for “human rights” and “democracy” in Canada’s parliament and the Quebec National Assembly are remarkably selective when it comes to determining the states that have violated their prescriptions, but this selectivity invariably corresponds to the interests of the imperialist powers.
None of the parties whose legislators claim to be outraged by Beijing’s alleged “genocide” against the Uyghurs has made a major issue out of the human rights implications of the devastation of Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of decades of US aggression and war—crimes in which Canadian imperialism has played a prominent and despicable role.
Nor were they troubled by Canada’s collaboration with fascist forces during the 2004 US-Canadian military intervention in Haiti that toppled that country’s elected president, or the acknowledgement by sections of the military top brass that Canada functioned as “al-Qaida’s air force” during the 2011 NATO bombardment of Libya. Similarly, they had no qualms about Ottawa’s heavy involvement in the 2014 fascist-spearheaded coup in Ukraine, which overthrew a democratically elected president in order to install a pro-Western puppet regime on Russia’s border.
The New Democrats, Greens and Québec Solidaire have also joined in the Canadian ruling establishment’s concerted effort to downplay and conceal the threat to democracy posed by Trump and the fascist movement he leads in the United States. They have dismissed the January 6 assault on the Capitol, which Trump unleashed with the aim of overturning his election defeat, as a mere riot. And they have joined the rest of the Canadian establishment in hailing Biden’s accession to the presidency as proof of the resilience of American democracy, even as the new president works to cover up the Republican Party leadership’s complicity in the coup attempt and affirms his support for a “strong Republican Party.”
Their silence on the threat posed by the far right is bound up with the fact that they cooperate with these very same political forces in the formulation and implementation of Canadian imperialist foreign policy. The genocide accusation against Beijing was initiated by Trump’s Secretary of State and close political ally Mike Pompeo in the last days of the Trump administration, only to be embraced by his Democratic successor, Blinken, at his Senate confirmation hearing.
Canadian imperialism and the anti-China campaign
The fact that Canada’s ostensibly “left” parties have chosen this particular moment to underscore their full-throated support for this reactionary policy of imperialist aggression is politically significant. Under conditions of unprecedented social inequality, the growth of far-right and fascist conspiracies, a massive rearmament program for the Canadian military, and its prioritizing of corporate profit over saving human lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s ruling class is heavily dependent on the honeyed phrases of “progressive” New Democrat and Green politicians to sell their war-mongering agenda to an overwhelmingly skeptical and outright hostile population.
In recent years, the most right-wing sections of Canada’s ruling elite have sought to whip up anti-Chinese chauvinism with an incessant campaign portraying Ottawa as the tiny David standing up to the Chinese Goliath. Everything, from the purchasing of Arctic gold mines by Chinese investors to the collaboration between Canadian and Chinese academics, has been cast as an intrusion by the malevolent “communist” regime in Beijing aimed at turning Canada into little more than a vassal state.
This preposterous narrative has largely been embraced by the Trudeau Liberal government, which has junked its plans to seek a free trade deal with Beijing and swung ever more fully behind Washington’s anti-China offensive. Acting at the behest of the Trump administration, it ordered the December 2018 seizure of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on bogus charges of violating illegal US sanctions against Iran.
In its latest defence policy update, the Liberal government identified China as a “global threat” to Canada, along with Islamist terrorism and Russia, and announced a 70 percent increase in military spending to ensure Canada’s armed forces can expand their role in US-led provocations around the world.
One key area of these operations is the Asia-Pacific, where Canadian vessels have already participated in “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
Behind all the blather about standing up for “human rights” and “democracy,” the Canadian and Quebec politicians who signed the open letter demanding that China be stripped of the Olympics were in fact declaring their emphatic support for this agenda of aggression, militarism and war.