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Intel Suggests Han Dong Provided Insight on How Treatment of ‘Two Michaels’ Could Affect Liberal Party’s Political Fortunes in Beijing

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According to a federal intelligence summary from a conversation between MP Han Dong and a Chinese official, Han Dong mentioned that the treatment of two Canadians detained in China could impact his Liberal Party against the Conservatives.

MP Dong testified before the inquiry on April 2 and was questioned about the information.

The summary stated that transparency from the People’s Republic of China regarding the ‘Two Michaels’ would help ease Canadian public opinion and provide talking points for his party against the opposition.

The ‘Two Michaels’ refer to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained in China at the time in response to the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou in Canada.

MP Dong also highlighted the Canadian public’s belief that China’s actions were wrong and lacking legal justification, and that Canada was just fulfilling its legal obligations by arresting Ms. Meng.

He discussed potential ramifications based on Canadians’ views, especially if China were to release the ‘Two Michaels.’

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Within the document, MP Dong’s mention of the ‘Two Michaels’ was to highlight the challenge of changing perspectives once opinions solidify.

He believed that even if China were to release the ‘Two Michaels’ at that time, opposition parties would view it as validation of Canada’s hardline approach toward China.

The summary at the inquiry indicated that Mr. Dong had privately shared these opinions with the Chinese consul general in Toronto in early 2021.

Mr. Dong clarified that he was not speaking on behalf of the Canadian government and discussed the House of Commons motion on recognizing the treatment of Uyghurs in Beijing as genocide.

A public inquiry was initiated based on information published by Global News last year, which led to Mr. Dong resigning from the Liberal caucus and suing the media outlet for defamation.

During his testimony, Mr. Dong stated that he did not recall the specific conversation with the consul general but acknowledged the likelihood of it taking place in early 2021.

He also confirmed discussing the ‘Two Michaels’ with the Chinese official and agreed that the reported information might have been part of the conversation.

Reports from Global News mentioned that Mr. Dong advised Beijing against releasing the ‘Two Michaels’ as it may benefit the Opposition Conservatives.

He allegedly suggested that Beijing show progress in the cases of Kovrig and Spavor to ease the Liberal Party’s situation amid public scrutiny.

In his announcement of leaving the Liberal caucus, Mr. Dong denied the reported claims as false.

Former special rapporteur David Johnston addressed the allegations, mentioning that the intelligence was misinterpreted and ultimately false.

The intelligence summary also highlighted irregularities during Mr. Dong’s Liberal Party nomination race, including activities involving individuals close to PRC officials and buses bringing international students to support Mr. Dong.

These irregularities included the use of falsified documents and veiled threats by the Chinese consulate to influence the students’ votes.

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