Journalist and former editor of the Chinese-language media outlet Sing Tao Daily Victor Ho was blacklisted by China for speaking out against the regime’s takeover of Hong Kong in July.
The blacklist prompted agents with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to visit Ho and check on his well being.
According to Ho, two agents paid him a “friendly and courteous” visit on Wednesday. Ho and the agents have agreed to meet again on Friday to further discuss the situation.
Chinese authorities placed Ho on a blacklist promising to “spare no efforts in pursuing” him after he was part of a July 27 news conference in which a Hong Kong “parliament in exile” was announced. The announcement featured a group of Hong Kong activists who promised to hold elections for the said parliament and to form an “electoral organizing committee.”
“How come our government keeps silent so long?” said Ho.
“They have full responsibility to take care of the safety of citizens because they are elected by the voters, that is you and me.”
Ho fears that if he ever returns to Hong Kong, he will be imprisoned. Additionally, he has concerns that agents operating on behalf of Beijing are already seeking him out in Canada.
“Various methods and techniques are in place to combat foreign actor interference within the RCMP’s mandate,” Public Safety Canada spokesperson Tim Warmington told the Vancouver Sun.
Critics have called on the Canadian government to crack down on foreign interference activities by creating a foreign agent registry.
In 2020, CSIS warned that agents working for the Chinese Communist Party are actively working to intimidate and silence the dissident Chinese diaspora.
“Certain foreign states routinely attempt to threaten and intimidate individuals around the world through various state entities and non-state proxies. These states, such as the People’s Republic of China, may use a combination of their intelligence and security services as well as trusted agents to assist them in conducting various forms of threat activities,” CSIS head of media relations John Townsend told the Globe and Mail.
“Importantly, when foreign states target members of Canadian communities, these individuals, for various reasons, may not have the means to protect themselves or do not know they can report these activities to Canadian authorities. The fear of state-backed or state-linked retribution targeting both them and their loved ones, in Canada and abroad, can force individuals to submit to foreign interference.”