Former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu said the Chinese government orchestrated an electoral misinformation campaign against him and his Conservative colleagues — a claim they vehemently denied.
"China never has and will never invade or bully others, or seek hegemony," tweets its embassy. "China is always a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, defender of the international order and provider of public goods."
Chiu contended: "There were anonymously authored articles posted on WeChat criticizing not just myself but my party, my leader."
Chiu said this was portrayed falsely in WeChat, a Chinese social media platform, targeting everyday Chinese Canadians, which he said was not the case, reported the Toronto Sun.
"When I go door-knocking … there have been supporters of mine who just shut the door in my face," he said. "There is so much hatred that I sense."
On September 20, Chiu lost to Liberal Parm Bains by nearly 3,000 votes two years after the first election.
His defeat—and that of other Conservative MPs in ridings dominated by Chinese Canadians—raised the question of whether proxies for the People's Republic government managed to influence the election—just as security agencies and other watchdogs have warned could happen.
Chiu stressed his issue was with China's regime but said online critics implied he opposed the country and the race, despite his Chinese heritage.
China's dictatorship accused Chiu of spreading anti-Asian racism despite being born in Hong Kong and ethnically Chinese.
He introduced a private member's bill in the House of Commons in 2021 meant to require anyone representing any foreign government in Canada to register as an agent of that government.
He also supported a motion accusing China of genocide for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims. They also used this to paint him as an "enemy of China."
His Conservative colleague Alice Wong, also from Hong Kong, was defeated in the recent federal election. Both her and Chiu's ridings had many Chinese Canadians, where the Trudeau Liberals made considerable gains on September 20.
The Chinese government previously said they did not want a Conservative government in Ottawa.
Last February, David Vigneault, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service director, gave a speech warning of the potential for foreign interference in Canadian elections.
Vigneault said China engages in activities to "target and quiet dissidents to the regime."
"A number of foreign states engage in hostile actions that routinely threaten and intimidate individuals in Canada to instill fear, silence, dissent and pressure, political opponents," he added.
Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat, said this week the Trudeau Liberals should launch an investigation.
He tried to help Chiu by seeking out and warning him about disinformation on WeChat, the popular Chinese social media site, and elsewhere online. But there seemed little they could do about it.
"It spread like cancer over his campaign," said Burton, a fellow with the Macdonald Laurier Institute and prominent critic of Beijing. "He just saw his campaign disintegrating over the last couple of weeks."
Burton said Canadian authorities should investigate the online campaigns to determine if the Chinese government was behind the attacks.
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