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A report from Canadian intelligence states that a scientist shared sensitive data with China.

A report from Canadian intelligence states that a scientist shared sensitive data with China.

According to recently released intelligence reports, a top scientist conducting research at Canada’s most secure laboratory shared sensitive scientific data with Chinese institutions and had clandestine meetings with officials. This individual was also deemed a plausible and legitimate risk to Canada’s economic security.

The firing of Xiangguo Qiu and her spouse, Keding Cheng, has remained a mystery since they were removed from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg in 2019 and officially terminated two years later.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, intelligence assessments revealed that Qiu’s connections to Chinese institutions were deemed “close and secret” and could be seen as exhibiting a “dangerous lack of judgment” that potentially posed a threat to Canada’s national security. These assessments were part of over 600 documents released after a lengthy battle with opposing lawmakers who had requested details surrounding the dismissals.

CSIS, the intelligence agency of Canada, determined that during interviews for security checks, Qiu consistently fabricated information about her connection to research facilities associated with the Chinese government. Despite being presented with conflicting proof, “Ms Qiu persisted in making general refusals, pretending to be unaware, or blatantly telling lies.”

In a particular situation, Qiu informed investigators that her trip to China in 2018 was for personal reasons. However, she later acknowledged that the trip was sponsored by the Wuhan Institute for Virology and that she met with a high-ranking member of the organization during her stay. The investigators also discovered documentation of Qiu’s application to work at the Wuhan Virology Institute for at least two months annually, with the goal of enhancing China’s efforts in researching and preventing new and powerful infectious diseases, as stated in the CSIS report.

Qiu acknowledged that she provided a sample of Ebola to China’s national institute for food and drug control, as they were working on creating a compound to inhibit the virus. However, she did this without a formal agreement for the transfer of the material or for collaboration.

Qiu gave authorization for two staff members from a Chinese organization, whose duties do not coincide with the goals of Canada, to enter the laboratory.

Both Qiu and Cheng have submitted complaints regarding their termination, but they have not addressed the accusations stated in the paperwork. It is currently unclear where they are located.

The public health agency expressed strong worries in a letter addressed to Cheng about his intimate personal and professional association with Xiangguo Qiu, as well as his knowledge and failure to fully disclose his and Qiu’s involvement with individuals and organizations affiliated with a foreign government.

The health agency informed Qiu that throughout the investigation, they did not see any signs of remorse or regret from them. Instead, Qiu occasionally shifted the blame onto the public health agency.

The organization stated that you cannot be trusted to not misuse the given trust and to carry out your assigned responsibilities in a way that will have a positive impact on PHAC and will not jeopardize the security of the Canadian government and PHAC.

Canada’s Liberal government has fought the release of the documents for years. The government initially released heavily redacted documents, which left opposition parties frustrated with what they felt was a lack of candour by Justin Trudeau’s government. A recent unified motion by opposition parties finally compelled the release of the investigation.

The Health minister, Mark Holland, admitted that there was not strict adherence to the lab’s security and protocols, which are under the supervision of the public health agency of Canada.

According to Holland, there were never any violations of national secrets or disclosures of information from the lab.

The Conservative party, currently leading in polls over the Liberals, charged the Trudeau government with allowing Chinese government infiltration of Canada’s most secure laboratory.

Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Conservative party, stated that Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government’s failure in the area of national security is immense. He also accused them of making great efforts to hide their mistakes.

Source: theguardian.com