A Canadian book publisher is taking on intimidation by from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by raising $100,000 to defend journalists from lawfare.
The China Democracy Fund (CDF) is a non-profit organization that supports and defends researchers, journalists, scholars and others and provides legal support and assistance against “CCP lawfare.”
The organization is led by its CEO, Dean Baxendale, who also serves as the president of Optimum Publishing International (OPI Books), a project launched in 2017 to “publish books that matter and support democracy, human rights, and civic engagement.”
OPI Books has published bestselling works detailing Chinese foreign interference networks, including “Wilful Blindness” by Canadian journalist Sam Cooper, “The China Nexus” by Benedict Rogers, “The Mosiac Effect” by Ina Mitchell and Scott McGregor, and “Hidden Hand” by Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg.
Baxendale also works and collaborates with international influential activist entities such as Hong Kong Watch and the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance.
The CDF team includes Harvard and Yale scholar Dr. Anders Corr, an author of several books including “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy & Hegemony” and publisher of the Journal of Political Risk. Benedict Rogers, a prominent activist and founder and CEO of Hong Kong Watch who consults for the World Uyghur Congress also sits on the politically-stacked powerhouse of CDF’s advisory board.
Journalist Sam Cooper was recently slapped with a defamation lawsuit along with his now-former employer, Global News, colleague Antony Robart, parent company Corus Entertainment Inc., and others stemming from his reporting on former Liberal MP Han Dong’s connections with the Chinese Communist Party.
Cooper left the outlet soon after the suit was launched to pursue an independent media business venture. A summary of Global’s legal statement of defence to the suit can be found here.
The mission statement of CDF states:
Our purpose is supporting and defending scholars, journalists, and others who work on issues of democracy and human rights related to China. The China Democracy Fund (CDF) provides financial support for a robust legal defense against attacks due to their scholarship, journalism, and activism. The organization uses its vast network of independent journalists and publishers to communicate the plight of individuals who fall prey to the CCP’s mass surveillance and repression operations.
CDF has supported other CCP skeptics, including Malaita Province’s, an island province of the Solomon Islands, ousted premier Daniel Suidani, and Marie-Ann Brady, a New Zealand-based China scholar and professor who was called in for an academic review after her work exposed Chinese military influence in New Zealand’s universities.
Canadian Senator Victor Oh can be seen on video, which first surfaced in an article by Found In Translation, stating he would be initiating a fund to sue journalists that “smear Chinese people.”
“Ah, comforting to see @SenatorVictorOh (Senator Oh) suggesting he will raise money to shut down journalists like @scoopercooper (Sam Cooper), @stevenchase (Steven Chase), @TerryGlavin (Terry Glavin) and @ReobertFife (Robert Fife). At the @C_DemFoundation (CDF), we are raising 100K in preparation to defend free speech and fight CCP lawfare,” read Baxendale’s message.
Another scathing post read “Victor Oh says Chinese Canadians need to fundraise to sue ‘messy reporters.’ Senator, Please bring it on, and it is so good of you to finally reveal yourself as an instrument of the UFWD (United Front Work Department).”
Oh was instrumental in orchestrating a mass protest on June 24 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and allegedly rented buses to rally supporters to oppose what he and Senator Woo are calling a “modern day Chinese Exclusion Act.”
Proposed legislation for a Foreign Agent Registry Act (FARA) has been floated in the wake of allegations of CCP influence in Canadian affairs.
Canada currently lacks this type of legislation, which would compel citizens acting on behalf of a foreign nation to register and disclose their activities. The United States has had a version of FARA since 1938.
Baxendale recently appeared before the House of Commons on June 2 to testify before a parliamentary committee investigating foreign interference methods, focusing mostly on “elite capture” — a grooming method used by the CCP to win over elites who will in turn favour CCP-preferred policies.
More information on the China Democracy Fund can be found here.