The Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) has trained nearly 2,000 Chinese law enforcement students and officials since 2013, alongside dozens of Chinese state judges, according to a bombshell report from Business in Vancouver.
The JIBC's international law enforcement studies (ILES) program, according to the report, has also trained officers from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, countries with a similarly poor track record for human rights, with minimal oversight.
In regard to China, the program trains police officers, border agents, and prison guards who are handpicked by the state's Communist Party. Chinese prisons often include political dissidents, journalists, and ethnic minorities, who the ruling CCP actively discriminates against.
In Hong Kong, police brutality against protesters has been extensively documented and is becoming increasingly common. The situation is far worse in East Turkestan at the other end of the country, where local police are complicit in an ongoing genocide against the Uyghur people. Ethnic Uyghurs have been subjected to mass detention in CCP-operated concentration camps where they experience crimes against humanity such as sexual abuse, torture, forced sterilization, and slavery.
A Canadian parliamentary subcommittee has already recognized the actions of the Chinese government as genocidal.
The program claims, however, that training police officers from China will reduce human rights violations as it will provide "exposure to the Canadian criminal justice system to broaden their perspective and their understanding of a different system of law enforcement," according to JIBC President Michel Tarko.
"Everything that we do around programming, in the sense of our training, or education, is about looking for safer communities or promoting safer communities in a more just society, not just in Canada, but around the world," he continued.
When Tarko was asked about the treatment of enemies of the state in China, he said he was "not at liberty to comment."
"I'm not a police expert. I don't have expertise in law enforcement," said Tarko, who has extensive experience visiting and reviewing Chinese law enforcement academies.
Officers who have trained Chinese law enforcement recruits includes Vancouver PD Constable Terry Yung, whose wife Sarah Kirby-Yung sits on Vancouver's City Council. Despite her husband training police forces for a country which commits genocide against ethnic minorities, Kirby-Yung proudly declares that she is "anti-racism" in her Twitter bio.
Aside from the potential for training officers who may later be involved in police brutality, suppression of political dissent, or even genocide, others are suggesting that the program may be a security risk for Canadians.
Specifically, Chinese recruits are given opportunities to tour police facilities in BC. As well, Chinese officers may develop friendly relations with local police departments or may even enlist in them, as the JIBC claims the program is in part meant to "meet BC’s rising labour force demand for diverse and highly-skilled workers." The system could increase the likelihood of CCP loyalists enlisting in Canadian police academies.
"The more [the CCP understands] how we operate in here, our legal system, the more they can manipulate our system to their advantage, given that they are known for espionage, surveillance, and also on stealing sensitive information," said Ivy Li, a member for Canadian Friends of Hong Kong.
"Our Constitution is officially anti-authoritarian and anti-dictatorship. And now you have handpicked future police, current police students, under the supervision of the Chinese Consulate embedded and trained by our police," she continued.
Such infiltration is particularly worrying for Chinese-Canadians who oppose the human rights abuses of the government of China. The Chinese government is known to spy on ethnically Chinese citizens of western countries, and the possibility of CCP agents enlisting in Canadian police academies leaves open the possibility of police abuse against anti-CCP activists in the Chinese-Canadian community.