Conservative MP Michael Chong told a parliamentary committee he has received multiple personal threats in recent years—in addition to those directed against his family overseas—that he believes were orchestrated by Beijing.
Chong told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) on May 16 that he did not want to elaborate in detail on the nature of the threats and could not say for certain if they were from Beijing, but acknowledged there were more than one.
“I have received threats that I believe may be related to the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and I’ll just leave it at that,” Chong said.
Chong, whose riding of Wellington—Halton Hills is located just southwest of Toronto, said he reported the threats to the appropriate national security “agencies and authorities” and also to his local police force.
He previously told reporters that CSIS gave him and a number of other MPs a general briefing on foreign interference activity in June 2021 that “did not contain any specific threats” relating to him or his family.
However, Chong told PROC that his previous reporting of other personal threats may explain why he had more meetings with CSIS apart from the general briefing in 2021.
“There was more than one threat,” Chong told the committee, adding that one of the incidents occurred during his campaign in the last federal election in 2021.
“The other incidences were outside of the federal election campaign and involved threats sent to me regarding the PRC and my travel outside the country,” he said.
Chong previously said that CSIS confirmed information in a Globe and Mail report published in early May saying that Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei collected information about Chong’s family members living in Hong Kong in order to target them with sanctions in 2021.
The alleged targeting was carried out in response to a House of Commons motion in 2021 sponsored by Chong declaring China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities a genocide.
The Liberal government has since declared Zhao persona non grata and expelled him from Canada.
Liberal MP Ruby Sahota asked Chong if the personal threats he recounted to PROC were connected to those made against his family in Hong Kong in 2021. Chong said he was unsure as he has not communicated with his family there in a number of years.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Quite simply, as with many Canadians with family in authoritarian states, I long ago deliberately made the decision not to communicate with them.”
“As a result, I don’t know what’s happened to them and it’s a difficult thing to do, but it’s something that many Canadians have to go through who have family back in authoritarian states.”
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said on May 3 that both he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau learned that Chong’s family in Hong Kong was being targeted by Beijing only from recent media reports and were not briefed about it in 2021.
Mendicino also said on May 16 that the federal government has formally directed CSIS to investigate and disclose any foreign threats against parliamentarians or their families.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.