A look at how China is transforming the way Canada hires foreign military personnel.
The government of China has become the world’s largest recruiting market for foreign military officers and their families, according to a new report released Tuesday.
The study, commissioned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), said that since the end of the Cold War, the number of Canadian troops deployed overseas has nearly tripled, and that the government is investing millions of dollars annually to help them train.
Its authors said China has been hiring hundreds of thousands of soldiers from the U.S., Britain, Italy, Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Greece and several other countries to fill jobs in Canada.
“Canada has a strong and growing relationship with the U:S., with many of our military leaders, and with our allies,” said Peter Mansbridge, a CSIS researcher.
“The Chinese military is very well-connected in these areas.
It is very attractive to recruit and we have a lot of people who have worked in the Chinese military, but they have the same interests, the same training, the the same opportunity.”
While China has spent billions of dollars on military and security projects since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, China has not had much success recruiting overseas military officers.
It was China’s first military recruitment office in Canada, which was created in 1998 and was shuttered in 2012.
The new report says China has opened up the military recruitment process to a wider range of recruits, and has also opened up its services to foreign spouses of Canadian military personnel and their children.
“The Chinese are looking at recruiting their own soldiers,” said Mansbridge.
“They’re not looking at military officers who are foreign.
They’re looking at soldiers who are Canadian, Canadian-trained.
That is what the Chinese are doing.”
The CSIS has been studying the Chinese government’s recruitment efforts for a decade and said its findings are consistent with other international reports.
“There’s been an effort to recruit more of their own people, and there are very specific recruitment goals,” Mansbridge said.
“It’s very clear from the report that the Chinese have had a lot to do with this.”