NEWS Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Canada bars journalist 'spy'


TORONTO -- This accused Chinese spy has been left out in the cold.

A Chinese journalist covering the UN in New York City has been blocked from resettling in Canada because security officials claim he's a sleeper agent who'd spy on groups here.

Haiquan Yao, 40, who works for the Chinese People's Daily newspaper, unsuccessfully appealed the immigration refusal to the Federal Court of Canada. The court this week ruled that Yao belongs to a group that will engage in acts of espionage or subversion against a democratic government.

Madame Justice Eleanor Dawson said Yao is a member of the Ministry of State Security (MSS), a Chinese spy group that keeps tabs on dissidents, diplomats and government officials in China and abroad.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents, who interviewed Yao twice, allege he was trying to enter Canada to infiltrate and spy on pro-democracy groups.

"A major task of MSS officers overseas is to monitor dissident movements," Dawson heard. "This includes the infiltration of groups."

Court heard that Yao was educated at the Institute of International Relations, a MSS school which is known to employ its graduates.

"Immigration believes he (Yao) would spy on dissidents in Canada," Yao's lawyer Matthew Moyal said yesterday. "They are concerned the MSS will branch out in Canada."

Moyal said Yao has been battling immigration officials for eight years to move to Canada with his wife and two children.

"The government said he is using journalism as a cover to spy on people," he said.

"If this person is good for the U.S., he's good for Canada."

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