Conservative MP Michael Chong will be testifying before the United States Congress, where he will address Beijing’s transnational repression targeting critics of the regime living overseas and minorities oppressed in China.
In a hearing announcement, the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said it has invited Mr. Chong to testify in Washington on Sept. 12. The invitation comes as the Chinese regime ramps up a campaign targeting diaspora communities and global critics of the communist leadership, the CECC said.
Agents of the Chinese regime, including those linked to the Ministry of State Security and provincial police forces, have “engaged in forced rendition of asylum seekers, street assaults, digital surveillance, online harassment, and the coercion and intimidation of the family and friends of dissidents and political prisoners in the United States and globally,” the statement said.
In an emailed statement, Mr. Chong said he looks forward to the opportunity to speak with U.S. Senators on such threat activities. He added that congressional hearings provide the opportunity to highlight the need for democracies to have closer cooperation to counter threats by Beijing and to protect “our citizens and institutions.”
“The PRC’s foreign interference threat activities here in Canada are a serious, national threat. For years Canada’s intelligence agencies have stated these activities are a threat to our citizens, democratic institutions, social cohesion and long-term prosperity,” he said.
Mr. Chong has faced ongoing threats from Beijing.
In May, The Globe and Mail reported on a 2021 assessment from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) which said the Chinese regime was targeting MPs for their stance on human rights in China. Citing a national security source, the report alleged that Mr. Chong’s family members living in Hong Kong had faced harassment from Chinese authorities.
A day after the Globe report was published, CSIS Director David Vigneault briefed Mr. Chong on Parliament Hill, where he told the MP that both he and his family were targeted by Beijing due to his sponsorship of a parliamentary motion in 2021. The motion aimed to recognize the regime’s treatment of Uyghurs as a genocide.
Ottawa subsequently summoned the Chinese ambassador to Canada on May 4 over the issue, and a Chinese diplomat, Zhao Wei, was expelled later that month for his alleged involvement in the targeting Mr. Chong and his family.
Beijing denied the allegations and retaliated by expelling Jennifer Lalonde, a diplomat from the Canadian consulate in Shanghai.
Following media reports on the targeting by Beijing, Mr. Chong became the victim of an online disinformation campaign.
Global Affairs Canada revealed in August what it described as a “coordinated network” of disinformation launched against the MP on WeChat shortly after Canadian media reported the Chinese threat against his family.
The CECC will also hear testimony from China analysts, including Laura Harth, campaign director for the Spain-based NGO Safeguard Defenders.
The human rights organization published a series of reports in 2022 on China’s clandestine operation of police service stations in more than 53 countries worldwide. The reports were aimed at investigating Beijing’s long-arm policing and transnational repression. According to its September 2022 report, Safeguard Defenders said the regime has touted its success in repatriating roughly 230,000 Chinese nationals living overseas, between April 2021 and July 2022.
While the regime said that its operation was aimed at combating telecommunications fraud by Chinese nationals living abroad, Safeguard Defenders warned that its targets also included dissidents and non-suspects.
The CECC statement cited the human rights group, Freedom House, which said that China’s transnational repression campaign is “the most sophisticated, comprehensive, and far-reaching” in the world.
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