Last week, during Question Period, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and members of his Cabinet were repeatedly asked questions about collaboration between the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg and scientists linked to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The NML is a level 4 lab dealing with the deadliest pathogens in the world. As such, it is one of Canada’s most secure facilities. However, it has come to light that scientists in the special pathogens unit at the NML have co-authored six studies in collaboration with Chinese military researchers, including at least one People’s Liberation Army scientist with direct ties to China’s biological weapons program who worked in the Winnipeg lab.
Moreover, in January of this year, two Chinese scientists, Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Kending Cheng, were fired from the National Microbiology Lab. The two scientists were removed from their positions and put on administrative leave in July of 2019 after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) recommended their security clearances be revoked on national security grounds.
Dr. Qiu—a virus and vaccine expert specializing in Ebola—began to arouse suspicions with her frequent trips to Beijing, and to China’s new level 4 lab in Wuhan. There was also a shipment of deadly pathogens; highly contagious Ebola and Henipah virus from the Winnipeg lab to the lab in Wuhan.
Conservatives have pressed the Liberal Government to explain these serious and deeply troubling national security concerns, but instead of answering these legitimate questions, the Prime Minister suggested pursuing such questions was perpetuating “anti-Asian racism”.
This is absurd.
When Mr. Trudeau conflates criticism of China’s government with anti-Asian racism, he plays directly into the propaganda efforts of China’s communist leadership. Beijing’s goal is to conflate legitimate criticism of China’s government with intolerance towards anyone of Chinese heritage. Our quarrel is not with the people of China, but with the communist leadership in Beijing that is threatening our citizens, our economy, and our values.
While Asian Canadians have, sadly, seen a rise in intolerance, those of Chinese origin who have fled communist persecution would be the first to call for Canada to stand up to/shed light on the actions of Beijing.
As such, we call upon the Prime Minister to retract his absurd and offensive comments and answer our questions.
Racism of any kind is abhorrent to Canadians, but the thought of People’s Liberation Army scientists working in one of our most secure facilities is unthinkable—as is the stunning naiveté of this government in defending joint research projects with the Chinese military.
Andy Ellis, former CSIS Assistant Director of Operations, said it is “madness” for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to be cooperating with the People’s Liberation Army, which in recent years has ramped up its recruitment of scientists and invested heavily in medical and biological research as part of its strategy to modernize its military.
“It is just incredible naiveté on their part…it is astounding that PHAC allowed a PLA scientist into the Winnipeg lab that requires the highest-level security clearance to gain entry.”
Needless to say, there is a lot more to this story, and Canadians deserve answers—answers the Prime Minster and his team are stonewalling hard to keep from coming to light.