Fired Chinese scientists 'lied to investigators' about their contacts with China: report

The Trudeau Liberals were forced to disclose a 614-page report confirming Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, had top-level clearance at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg despite being security risks. Neither disclosed their Chinese contacts.

Fired Chinese scientists 'lied to investigators' about their contacts with China: report
Remove Ads

MPs learned Wednesday that two Chinese scientists who once worked at Canada’s top infectious disease laboratory did not disclose their contacts with China to investigators.

The Trudeau Liberals disclosed a 614-page report confirming Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, had top-level clearance at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg despite being security risks, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

Both lied when questioned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, according to investigators.

“Despite being given every opportunity in her interviews to provide a truthful version of her association with Chinese entities Ms. Qiu continued to make blanket denials, feign ignorance or tell outright lies,” said a 2020 security report.

The husband “was less than honest” when interviewed, it contends. “I have no connection with foreign officials,” Cheng told investigators. “I am just a biologist.”

Prior media reports uncovered an RCMP probe into whether the husband and wife transferred Canada’s intellectual property to the Chinese government, including plasma DNA molecules that could be used to recreate viruses.

Evidence showed Cheng sent lab-related emails through an unmonitored Google Mail account despite repeated warnings and gave encrypted USB keys with passwords to “restricted visitors” at the lab.

In one 2018 incident, he received a package from China marked “kitchen utensils” that contained lab proteins, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Public Health Agency maintains they followed all protocols despite the shipments lacking a standard material-transfer agreement to clearly outline intellectual property rights.

However, CSIS promptly urged the federal health agency to revoke the pair's security clearances in July 2019. Both scientists received an official dismissal in January 2021 that PHAC says was unrelated to the transfer of the viruses.

Four months before their expulsion, access to information request revealed Dr. Qiu shipped two exceptionally virulent strains of the Ebola and Henipah viruses to the Wuhan facility, where COVID-19 is alleged to have originated.

Unbeknown to the health agency, Dr. Qiu kept an undisclosed account with the China Commercial Bank and “offered that she had collaborated” with state agencies like the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences. 

The Globe and Mail previously reported the husband and wife collaborated with Chinese military researchers on experiments with Ebola, Lassa fever and Rift Valley fever. 

“Ms. Qiu stated she just does scientific work,” said a 2020 security report. “When it was explained by the investigator that this work could be used for nefarious purposes such as biological weapons, Ms. Qui replied: ‘That’s true.’”

However, Dr. Qiu denied any contact with the People’s Liberation Army, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. She pleaded ignorance when photographed with a uniformed major general involved in bioweapons research with the Chinese Army.

Among the wife’s collaborations with Chinese government scientists includes Ebola research with Major-General Chen Wei, China’s leading military epidemiologist and virologist.

“When questioned as to what she would do if approached by the Chinese government to conduct exclusive research for the betterment of Chinese people, Ms. Qiu responded, ‘Well, it depends on what they asked me to do. It’s just like collaboration,’” said the security report.

In 2021, MPs learned that lab managers expressed queasiness over their Chinese contacts. “I have some concerns here,” the Lab’s scientific director wrote in a 2018 staff email.

Health Minister Mark Holland could not justify Dr. Qiu and Cheng’s hiring before the media. “There was lax adherence to the security protocols that were in place,” he told reporters.

“There was, going back several years now, an enormous amount of concern about events that happened at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg,” said Holland. “That led to an enormous amount of speculation. Some of it was completely valid in terms of concern around security.”

“They weren’t disclosing information, they weren’t disclosing relationships,” he claimed. “The nature of other work they were conducting wasn’t being disclosed.”

“Are you concerned China was interfering and trying to get delicate information from Canada’s National Microbiology Lab?” asked a reporter. “No sensitive information left the lab,” replied Holland.

“People let Chinese nationals into the lab; who authorized this?” asked a reporter. “These were eminent scientists whose research and work was well known,” replied Holland. “They were leaders in their field.”

“The concern is the relationship they had with Chinese science, Chinese businesses that they did not disclose,” said Holland. “It was not known to the Public Health Agency at that time.”

A special parliamentary committee penned an urgent letter last month urging all House of Commons parties to declassify Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) documents relevant to the firing of Qiu and Cheng.

“The information appears to be mostly about protecting the organization from embarrassment for failures in policy and implementation, not legitimate national security concerns, and its release is essential to hold the government to account,” it said.

The letter clarified that only the identities of the two scientists or Chinese government officials would be disclosed. However, the Trudeau Liberals cited national security reasons for withholding the documents for three years. 

Last year, all House parties finally agreed to provide MPs on the special committee with unredacted copies of all the related records. Overseeing their efforts, a panel of retired judges adjudicated disputes on which unredacted information to disclose publicly.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads