How China uses shadowy United Front as ‘magic weapon’ to try to extend its influence in Canada

The scene outside the offices of the Toronto public school board was raucous.

It was October 2014, and the board was planning to vote on a contract with the Confucius Institute, an organization affiliated with the education ministry of the government of China, which had offered its services to teach Mandarin to the city’s schoolchildren.

Critics decried the arrangement, calling the institute a propaganda or espionage arm of the Chinese state. But its supporters were out in force, scores of them, rallying noisily and waving Chinese flags in the heart of Canada’s biggest city.

A lot of trouble to go through when all they have to do is ring up an ambassador or Liberal MP.