Feds concede investigation into two fired Chinese scientists took too long

The two scientists were fired in January of 2021 after it was revealed they were working in partnership with China's People's Liberation Army.

Feds concede investigation into two fired Chinese scientists took too long
The Canadian Press / John Woods
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Federal authorities are admitting that a security investigation into two Chinese scientists working at Canada's most sensitive laboratory should have moved quicker, according to reporting from Blacklock's.

The husband and wife scientist duo from China were employed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg when it was uncovered they were secretly working to benefit the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) bioweapons program.

One of the scientists even purportedly sent highly secure materials — including deadly viruses — without authorization to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Despite arousing suspicion from authorities back in August of 2018, the two scientists worked to benefit the PLA and had access to the lab until July of 2019. They were ultimately fired from their roles in January of 2021 and have reportedly fled back to China.

The security investigation into the scientists' conduct took over two years. As further detailed by Blacklock's, Nathalie Drouin, deputy clerk of the Privy Council, spoke about the investigation to the Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations.

She conceded that "at the beginning, it was not even clear it was a national security issue. It was a more lax administrative procedure. Like, it took some time.”

Drouin also admitted that “From the first signal to the moment the two scientists were put on leave, yes, there is a timeline that needs to be looked at."

“It’s always easy to look at what happened in the past with a retrospective lens and then see how easy it was,” she added.

Conservative MP Michael Chong noted that although the first red flags were raised in 2018, "It took until January 20, 2021, to terminate Dr. Qiu and Dr. Cheng from the employment of the Government of Canada."

The two scientists have reportedly changed their names and are continuing their research at institutions in China.

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