Saturday, October 25, 2014
Defectors say China running 1,000 spies in Canada
CBC News Posted: Jun 15, 200
Two Chinese defectors say the Chinese government has a network of more than 1,000 spies and informants in Canada.
The two men were diplomats in Australia, where they are now seeking political asylum. They say Australia and other countries such as the United States have Chinese spy networks operating inside them too.
The defectors say the spies and informants have orders to disrupt the Falun Gong movement, which China calls "a dangerous cult," and to steal commercial and scientific secrets.
Chen Yongleen, the first secretary of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, defected two weeks ago. He was followed a short time later by Hao Fengjing, a low-ranking Chinese intelligence officer.
Speaking to Australian journalists, Chen and Hao accused the Chinese government of maintaining a large network of spies in Australia primarily to harass Falun Gong members and steal commercial secrets.
"They were monitoring the activities and report back and they take some activities against the democracy movement and the Falun Gong people," said Chen.
The defectors went on to say that the spying network extends to countries with large Chinese immigrant populations, including the U.S. and Canada. Hao said he'd worked in a group in the Chinese Public Security Bureau known as the 610 office, a special unit created in 1999 to monitor and disrupt the activities of the Falun Gong overseas.
Hao says Canada has more spies operating in it than any other country.
Businessman Joe Wang is convinced he's already had a run-in with Chinese intelligence agents in Toronto.
Wang is manager of NTDTV, a satellite television network that beams programming critical of the government directly into China.
Two months ago Wang says his Toronto office began receiving envelopes through the mail filled with a mysterious white powder. The outside of the envelopes were marked with the Chinese symbol for death and the words "Falun Dafa," the name of a religious practice.
"I'm pretty sure the Chinese Consulate is behind this," Wang said.
The envelopes were turned over to the police. The powder in the first turned out to be boric acid.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa dismisses Wang's allegations and the allegation of the Chinese defectors in Australia as "pure fabrication."
However, former CSIS agent Michel Juneau-Katsuya, finds them credible. During the mid-1990s, Juneau-Katsuya oversaw the CSIS Asian-Pacific desk. He says if Canadian intelligence agencies weren't preoccupied with Islamist terrorists these days they would realize the greatest threat to Canadian security comes from China.
Particularly in the theft of scientific and commercial data.
"We estimated at CSIS that we were losing $1 billion a month, $12 billion a year, due to industrial espionage," he said.
But Juneau-Katsuya does find the allegation that there are more than 1,000 Chinese spies in Canada hard to believe. He says it's more likely the majority are not trained spies but paid informants. But he says there's plenty of evidence to prove that Chinese intelligence agents use illegal methods to spy on and disrupt the Falun Gong.