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Foreign interference alleged in the center of a constituency

In his new role as special rapporteur investigating alleged foreign interference, David Johnston will likely delve into the Don Valley North riding in suburban Toronto.

The constituency is becoming a nexus for alleged interference from China. He is represented at the federal level by a Liberal and at the provincial level by the Progressive Conservative Party – but what raises eyebrows are their ties to a wealthy supermarket magnate with close ties to the Chinese consulate in Toronto.

The ties are between Liberal MP Han Dong, PC MP Vincent Ke and supermarket tycoon Wei Chengyi. Wei owns the Foody Mart grocery chain which has stores in Ontario and British Columbia. The two politicians often appear with the businessman at events covered by Chinese ethnic media.

But for Canadians who speak neither Mandarin nor Cantonese, the tangle of relationships is only now unraveling.


Four years ago, Wei attended a conference in Beijing for overseas Chinese business leaders. Media from May 2019 shows a video of him shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A month later, Dong announced that he would enter the nomination race to become Don Valley North’s Liberal candidate in the Canadian federal election this fall. He launched his campaign at the headquarters of Foody Mart located in the constituency. Wei stood by her side.

After Ke won his provincial seat in 2018, Wei was featured in the credits as a senior adviser to a documentary celebrating Ke’s victory. The feature was released on 365 Net TV, a Chinese digital program.

Wei is also honorary president of the Canada Toronto Fuqing Business Association (CTFBA) which promotes ties with China. Its translated mission statement includes a goal “to unite rural sentiments, integrate resources…and advance the spirit of unity.”

But one of the affiliate organizations of the CTFBA is located at 220 Royal Crest Court in Markham, Ontario. The address corresponds to a Chinese police station identified by the Spanish NGO Safeguard Defenders which monitors disappearances of people in China.

Last November, the RCMP confirmed they were investigating the office.


On its website, the Fuqing Association also states that it was established under “the specific guidance of the United Front Work Department”.

According to the Canadian government, the UFWD is a branch of the Chinese Community Party. The Public Safety Canada document released in 2021 states that the UFWD is used to “stifle criticism, infiltrate foreign political parties, diaspora communities, universities and multinational corporations”.

Tens of thousands of Chinese agents work for the UFWD around the world to monitor the activities of its diaspora. According to intelligence experts, more than 40,000 personnel have been added to the UFWD since Xi came to power.

Scott McGregor is a former military intelligence officer and the co-author of The Mosaic Effect, how the Chinese Communist Party unleashed Hybrid War in America’s backyard.

He says the United Front works through a network of overseas Chinese associations to “collect intelligence and make propaganda”. McGregor says that in some cases money is laundered by the UFWD to achieve its goals.

“With transnational crime, it often happens in funding so they can run the operations they’re starting (like) a protest with protesters being paid for other ongoing activities. The money often comes from organized crime “McGregor said.


The media scrutiny follows reports from The Globe and Mail and Global News about an orchestrated attempt by the Chinese government to elect 11 pro-China candidates in 2019. Both news organizations quoted intelligence sources Canadian.

After reviewing national security documents based on CSIS intelligence, Global News named Han Dong as a “conscious affiliate” in Chinese interference networks and also alleged that a staff member in Vincent Ke’s office allegedly able to funnel money to candidates Beijing deemed “friendly” during the 2019 Federal Election.

Ke was also embroiled in a controversy last spring, when the Ontario Liberals asked the provincial police commissioner to investigate a breach of trust by Ke or his office.

Documentation obtained by the provincial party showed what the Liberals called 15 “hidden shell companies” formed by Ke staff and family members after his election in 2018. Some of the registered nonprofits had addresses corresponding to the houses belonging to relatives of Ke. staff.

An organization received a provincial grant of $25,000 to help keep seniors healthy. The Ontario Provincial Police did not investigate.


Wei did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CTV News. The inquiries were made by phone and email to the trade association he belongs to and the supermarket he operates.

In a statement posted on his Twitter page, Dong said, “I strongly reject insinuations in media reports that claim I played a role in offshore interference in these processes and will vigorously defend myself.”

Ke called Global’s allegations “false and defamatory”, but resigned from the PC caucus to sit as an independent at Queen’s Park.

“I don’t want to distract the government and detract from the good work Premier Fordis is doing for the province of Ontario. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the PC caucus in order to spend time clearing my name and representing my constituents. »

CTV News has not seen the classified reports, but has spoken to more than a dozen sources within the Chinese community in the Greater Toronto Area.

These sources include federal and provincial campaign managers, former candidates, ethnic media reporters and local activists. Some of them were interviewed by CSIS agents and provided names.


Dong and Ke are among a group of local, provincial and federal politicians, whom several CTV News sources have named as benefactors of Chinese state support.

Sources told CTV that under the direction of Chinese consulate officials, middlemen paid party memberships and transported international students and senior citizens to vote for Ke’s nomination.

Similar incidents reportedly occurred during Dong’s victory at the federal nomination.

Gloria Fung is a pro-democracy activist from Hong Kong-Canada Link. She says Beijing has funded many candidates in several elections to place them in government at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

“The money was distributed through individual members of the United Front organization to the candidate. So each would donate to an individual making sure they didn’t go over the maximum limit. But the funds came from from the United Front organization, which in turn get their funding from the Chinese Embassy,” Fung said.

In recent years, Fung has been threatened and harassed for protesting China’s restrictive laws in Hong Kong. She knows investigating the interference will be a challenge.

“They won’t be stupid enough to leave a paper trail.”

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