Canada should learn from Taiwan how to deal with China

Democracies should be wary of sacrificing their own values: J. Michael Cole

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) with China's President Xi Jinping.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) with China's President Xi Jinping. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Canada should learn from Taiwan how to defend itself from Chinese infiltration and industrial espionage, a recent op-ed piece in the Toronto Globe and Mail advocated.

In a piece titled “How can democracies counter China’s growing clout?,” Taiwan-based J. Michael Cole, a Senior Fellow with the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute, says western democracies like Canada should pay attention to the risks of moving closer to authoritarian countries like China.

Creeping censorship and political warfare against the basic democratic values held by the West were mentioned as examples of the costs inherent in engaging Beijing.

Cole recommended closer links between Canadian government officials, academics, reporters and business people with their counterparts in Asian democracies, and particularly Taiwan, due to their experience in dealing with the communist country.

Mentioning the island nation, Cole wrote in his Globe and Mail piece that “Our businesses can learn from it (Taiwan) on how to better protect against Chinese attempts to steal our technology through investments and acquisitions.”

Canadian organizations could also learn from Taiwan how to defend themselves against Chinese hackers, and Canada’s intelligence agencies should learn about the island’s “decades of experience tracking and countering Chinese penetration at all levels of society,” Cole wrote.

He also advocated the rewriting of laws on foreign influence to cover collaboration with China when it goes counter to basic democratic values.

Cole wrote it was time that Canada started paying closer attention to the potential costs to democracy of engaging China, which he described as “led by the most successful communist party in history.”