An alleged Chinese police station operates a ten-minute car ride away from Liberal MP Han Dong’s riding, where intelligence officials say Canadians of Chinese origin were coerced to vote for Dong.

The alleged Warden Ave. police station neighbouring Toronto’s Don Valley North district was named last year as a station that Chinese state actors use to coerce expatriated citizens to behave in the interests of the Chinese party.

Last week, anonymous sources at Canada’s intelligence service told media that Beijing preferred Dong as the 2019 Liberal candidate for Don Valley North. The sources also told Global News that voters were bussed into Dong’s electoral district with fake addresses and were coerced into voting in Dong’s favour.

Sources did not say who was coercing the group, but an official at Safeguard Defenders – which first identified the alleged station – told True North the election activity is consistent with China’s influence network, including its overseas police stations.

“The coercion of overseas students or other members of the community to behave in compliance with the wishes of Chinese authorities is very much in line with our findings,” wrote campaign director Laura Harth.

Safeguard Defenders first identified the alleged police station in 2022, leading Canada to launch its ongoing RCMP probe. In the 2022 report, Safeguard said Chinese stations used similar tactics to what was leaked last week by intelligence officials.

Intelligence officials reported that, in Han Dong’s 2019 candidacy run, Chinese international students were coerced to vote in Dong’s favour by threatening their student-visas. In Safeguard’s 2022 report on overseas stations, it cited examples of expatriate Chinese citizens facing threats to their parent’s electricity, or their child’s education.

The alleged station on Warden Ave. is a short car ride from all of Dong’s constituents – including the communities of Pleasant View, Don Valley Village, and Henry Farm.

Han Dong celebrates with volunteers about his 2019 nomination as the Liberal candidate for Don Valley North riding (September 2019/ Han Dong Instagram)

While the case involving Chinese international students is in the past, Chinese-Canadians are still being threatened in the area.

In February 2023, several MPs for ridings surrounding the alleged Warden Ave. station testified Chinese-Canadian constituents were being harassed. Liberal MP for the district, Jean Yip, asked how her constituents could seek advice about dealing with intimidation.

While Harth applauds Canada for launching interference investigations, she said the country must not politicize the issue. Harth said political rhetoric around the issue would help China’s underlying interests.

Safeguard Defenders is a non-governmental organization headquartered in Madrid, Spain. The team spans Asia, working in-field to advocate for human rights, rule of law and civil society.