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Alleged foreign interference at the centre of one riding

In his new role as special rapporteur investigating alleged foreign interference, David Johnston is likely to dive deep into the Toronto suburb of Don Valley North.

Horse riding emerges as a nexus of alleged interference by China. It represents the federal Liberals and provincially the Progressive Conservative Party, but what’s raising 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 MPP Vincent Kay and supermarket tycoon Wei Chengyi. Wei owns the Foody Mart grocery chain with stores in Ontario and British Columbia. The two politicians often appear together with the businessman at events covered by ethnic Chinese media.

But for Canadians who don’t speak Mandarin or Cantonese, the tangled web of relationships is only now being revealed.


Four years ago, Wei attended a conference for overseas Chinese businessmen in Beijing. In May 2019, media reports showed a video of him shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A month later, Dong announced he would enter the nomination race to become the Don Valley Northern Liberal candidate in Canada’s federal election in the fall. He launched his campaign at the Foody Mart headquarters in the riding. Wei stood beside him.

After Ke won his state seat in 2018, Wei appeared on the charts as a top adviser in a documentary celebrating Ke’s victory. The feature was placed on 365 Net TV, a Chinese digital program.

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

But one of the CTFBA affiliates is located at 220 Royal Crest Court in Markham, Ont. The address is linked to a Chinese police department identified by Spain-based NGO Safeguard Defenders, which monitors disappearances in China.

Last November, RCMP confirmed they were investigating the office.


On its website, the Fuqing Association also states that it was established “under the special leadership of the United Front Labor Department.”

According to the Canadian government, the UFWD is an affiliate of the Chinese Communist Party. A Canadian public security document released in 2021 said 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 its diaspora activities. 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 co-author The mosaic effect as the Chinese Communist Party launched a hybrid war in America’s backyard.

He says the United Front works through a network of overseas Chinese associations to “gather intelligence and carry out propaganda.” McGregor says in some cases money is laundered through UFWD to further its goals.

“With transnational crime, it often comes down to the financing side so that they can carry out the actions that they start (like) protesting with paid protesters against other actions. The money often comes from organized crime,” McGregor said.


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

After viewing CSIS intelligence-based national security documents, Global News named Han Dong as a “knowing partner” in Chinese meddling networks and also alleged that an employee in Vincent Ke’s office may have funneled money to Beijing candidates deemed “friendly” to Beijing at the time. : 2019 federal elections.

Kee was also embroiled in controversy last spring when the Ontario Liberals called on the province’s police commissioner to investigate a breach of trust by Kee or his office.

Documents obtained by the provincial party showed what the liberals called 15 “hidden shell companies”.After being selected in 2018 by Kay’s staff and their family members. Some of the registered nonprofits had addresses that matched homes owned by relatives of Ke staff.

An organization has received a $25,000 provincial grant to help keep seniors healthy. The OPP has not started an investigation.


Wei did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CTV News. Inquiries were made through telephone calls and e-mails to the business association he owned and the supermarket he operated.

In a statement published on his Twitter page, Dong said: “I categorically reject media insinuations that I played a role in offshore interference in these proceedings and will vigorously defend myself.”

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

“I don’t want to distract the government and take away from the good work that Premier Fordyce is doing for the province of Ontario. Therefore, I will be leaving the PC group to take time to clear my name and present myself. constituents”.

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

These sources include federal and state 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, state and federal politicians named by multiple CTV News sources as benefactors of China’s state aid.

Sources told CTV that brokers, at the behest of Chinese consulate officials, paid for party memberships and busloads of foreign students and seniors to vote to ensure Ke’s candidacy.

Similar incidents are believed to have occurred while Dong was winning the federal nomination.

Gloria Fung is a democracy activist with Hong Kong-Canada connections. He says Beijing has funded multiple candidates over several elections to place them in government at the municipal, state and federal levels.

“The money was distributed to the candidate through individual members of the “United Front” organization. So everyone donates to an individual, making sure it doesn’t exceed the maximum limit. get their funding from the Chinese embassy,” Fung said.

In the past few years, Fung has been threatened and harassed for protesting China’s restrictive laws on Hong Kong. He knows investigating interference will be a challenge.

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

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