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China rejects allegations of interference in Canadian elections

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China has dismissed Canadian media reports alleging interference in the country’s federal elections as “false” and attempts to “discredit Beijing”.

A statement issued by the Chinese Consulate General in the western city of Vancouver on Friday accused Canadian media of “slandering and smearing China” and expressed “strong indignation”.

The statement followed a report in The Globe and Mail, citing classified intelligence documents, that said Beijing interfered in the 2021 federal election.

The Chinese government has used diplomats and agents to lead disinformation campaigns aimed at boosting some candidates from the Liberal Party — the party deemed more favorable to Beijing — against their conservative rivals, the paper reported.

The Chinese consulate general statement said the authorities had “made it clear on many occasions that China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs and has not interfered in any Canadian elections.”

She said the accusations would “harm the friendship and interests of the peoples of the two countries.”

The statement further urged “relevant media to abide by professional ethics, immediately stop defaming and attacking China and the Consulate General, and do more good deeds” to improve mutual understanding.

Asked about the matter on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted the last election his government won was legitimate.

He added that he had known “for a long time” about Chinese attempts to interfere, but that Canadians could have “full confidence” in the integrity of their elections.

In Ottawa, a parliamentary committee is investigating allegations that China interfered in the 2019 election campaign in support of 11 candidates, most of them Liberals.

Sino-Canadian relations have been tense for years, especially after Canada’s 2018 arrest, at the request of an American, Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive of the Chinese multinational company Huawei. Released in 2021.

Then this month, four objects — including a huge blimp that US officials said monitors China — were shot down over North America, further straining relations.

Last November, Trudeau said he and President Xi Jinping discussed the issue of Chinese interference in Canadian affairs on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali.

Chinese officials declined to confirm details of the discussion.

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