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Chinese Employee of Hydro Quebec Arrested for Economic Espionage

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Chinese Employee of Hydro Quebec Arrested for Economic Espionage

Below are details of the arrest in mid-November of a Hydro Quebec employee, one Yuesheng Wang for spying — economic espionage — for Red China. Interestingly, he wasn’t caught by the Mounties — the Mounties don’t ‘always get their man” — but by Hydro Quebec security. Charles Burton, a former professor of Political Science at Brock University and now a Senior Fellow with the Macdonald Laurier Institute told Toronto 1010 Talk Radio (November 16): “Canada doesn’t have the resources or political will to root out” Red Chinese espionage.

“A former employee of Hydro-Québec made a first appearance in court Tuesday on charges that he fraudulently obtained a trade secret for the benefit of China, and he was ordered to remain detained ahead of a bail hearing. Yuesheng Wang, 35, appeared in Quebec court in Longueuil by videoconference and was assisted by a translator. Wang was detained at the RCMP’s headquarters in Montreal.

The resident of Candiac, on Montreal’s South Shore, is the first person in Canada to be charged with economic espionage under the Security of Information Act. Wang was also formally charged on Tuesday with three violations of the Criminal Code: using a computer fraudulently and without authorization; obtaining a trade secret by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means; and breach of trust.

Federal prosecutor Marc Cigana objected to bail in Wang’s case.“It’s our opinion, after studying all the circumstances and the evidence, that Mr. Wang is a flight risk,” Cigana told reporters after the court hearing.

Wang is alleged to have committed the crimes between Jan. 1, 2018 and Aug. 22, 2022, in the course of his duties at Hydro-Québec. Three of the four charges each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The breach of trust charge carries a maximum five-year sentence. The RCMP alleges that Wang conducted research for Chinese research centres and a Chinese university and that he published scientific articles and filed patents with them rather than with the Quebec utility. Police also alleged he used information without his employer’s consent, harming Hydro-Québec’s intellectual property.

The RCMP said its national security enforcement team began an investigation in August after receiving a complaint from Hydro-Québec’s corporate security branch.

Wang, who has a limited knowledge of English and does not speak French, shook his head as the charges were translated into Mandarin for him in court on Tuesday.[Little English; no French — how did this guy get into Canada? Who specifically — the bureaucrats name, please — was responsible?]He tried to have his bail hearing held immediately, but was advised by his lawyer to delay. Quebec court Judge Anne-Marie Beauchemin ordered Wang remanded to a detention centre.

 The case was put off until Friday, when more evidence will be disclosed and when the parties will discuss scheduling a bail hearing. Neither lawyer could say following Tuesday’s hearing whether Wang has Canadian citizenship. [Isn’t that a rather important point?]

Wesley Wark, an expert on national security and intelligence issues, said the Wang case isn’t the first economic espionage incident in the country but is the first case that has led to charges under the 21-year-old Security of Information Act. Wark, a senior fellow at the think tank Centre for International Governance Innovation, said the case is “unusual.” …

‘It takes us into the world of university research and university publications, and it’s an important area to wade into, but also very complex in terms of being able to then reach back and pin an economic espionage charge against him.’  The definition of “trade secret” is very broad, Wark said, which may make the case difficult to prove in court. He said the charges demonstrate that much of the espionage activity in Canada is occurring outside the orbit of the federal government and within the private sector.

Hydro-Québec said Wang was a researcher who worked on battery materials with the Centre of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage, known as CETEES. The centre develops technology for electric vehicles and for energy-storage systems.

In a statement, the utility said its security team launched a probe before it called federal authorities, adding that Wang has been fired. Wang, Hydro-Québec noted, didn’t have access to the utility’s “core mission,” and it said his access was revoked when suspicions arose.” (Montreal Gazette, November 15, 2022)

It’s maddening that we aren’t allowed even to know Wang’s citizenship status. How did this person who speaks no French and little English even qualify to immigrate to Canada? The issue of double loyalty may be a political hand grenade. We’re not even allowed to ask the question. So, let’s put it a little differently. Shouldn’t Chinese immigrants, especially those from Red China, have to give strong evidence of their loyalty to Canada before being accepted? The few immigrants from Taiwan are mostly fiercely anti-communist as are many from Hong Kong. Red China is a different matter. Some immigrants are anti-communist. Some come here for a better and much cheaper education and a much cleaner environment than the Chinese Mainland. Many remain fiercely proud of China which is now an economic powerhouse and a resurgent military power. It’s these people who are susceptible to calls to help Red China through espionage.

  • A week later, we discovered a little more about the alleged spy: “Wang, a Chinese national on a work visa for his job with the Quebec utility, put up his suburban Montreal home and a downtown condominium as an assurance he would remain in Canada.” (National Post, November 25, 2022) Why was he granted a work visa? What security check was done on him? How did this 35-year old amass so much property? Was he getting by frugally on a bowl of rice and crickets per day?

Charles Burton warns:  “The [Red Chinese] propaganda campaign, which includes conspiracy theories promulgated by pro-Beijing Chinese language media in Canada, threatens our democracy. It already cost Canadian [Conservative] MPs of Chinese heritage their seats in the last election, and because we do nothing about it, we can expect more in the next election. The Chinese-language media’s hate-mongering includes accusations of pervasive racism against everybody in Canada with Chinese ancestry. Readers of China’s WeChat and other platforms are implored to respond by identifying with the Motherland and becoming loyal to the Chinese Communist Party.

Canada seems incapable of doing anything about China, due to the incompatibility of the Ottawa doctrine that we must maintain close relations with Beijing regardless of public opinion. When China’s ambassador in Ottawa threatened Canada about crossing a ‘red line’ on Taiwan, warning officials to draw lessons from the past (read: hostage diplomacy) if our MPs set foot in Taiwan, our prime minister didn’t even condemn the remarks, but simply urged MPs to reflect on the ‘consequences’ of such a visit.” (Toronto Star, August 28, 2022)