Canada accuses China of targeting lawmaker in misinformation
Spread the love

An anti-Canadian misinformation campaign has been launched on WeChat targeting a Canadian parliamentarian.

Posts sharing “misleading narratives” about Michael Chong’s background, family heritage, and political beliefs were allegedly targeted.

It is “highly probable” that China is behind the WeChat campaign against him, according to Global Affairs Canada.

Allegations against China have been denied.

The allegations were disclosed on Wednesday in a rare statement by GAC, which is rarely forthcoming about foreign interference.

As a result of the campaign’s nature, it is difficult to trace the attacks back to China definitively.

The report said social media networks are leveraged in this type of information campaign in a covert manner, so it’s impossible to determine if China ordered and directed the operation.

It’s part of a series of accusations from Canadian intelligence agencies and officials that Beijing has interfered with Canadian elections in recent months.

It discovered the attacks against Mr Chong while monitoring social media and the internet for foreign interference ahead of a by-election on 19 June.

Mr Chong’s falsehoods were amplified by news accounts on WeChat.

There was a coordinated attack and an abnormal volume of attacks, they said.

A third of the accounts amplifying the attacks were state-owned media outlets or accounts possibly linked to the Chinese government, GAC said. Those who did not make previous posts about Canadian politics were anonymous.

According to the BBC, the Chinese embassy in Canada describes the allegations as “pure nonsense”.

“We never interfere in Canada’s internal affairs, and we have no interest in doing so,” the statement said.

The GAC said it will speak to China’s representatives in Canada about the posts, adding that Canada will never tolerate interference with its democracy or internal affairs.

After Mr Chong expressed concerns about human rights abuses in China, Canada has accused China of targeting him and his relatives in Hong Kong.

As a result, Canada expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei in May. In retaliation, China removed Canada’s diplomat from its Shanghai Consulate, Jennifer Lynn Lalonde.

Chong described the campaign against him as “another serious attempt by the communist government in Beijing to interfere with our democracy”.

In addition, he renewed his call for a public inquiry into allegations of Chinese interference in the Canadian economy.

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been pressured to launch an inquiry, but it is unclear whether one will take place.