A Canadian immigration tribunal has ruled to deport a Chinese woman, Jing Zhang, for her work with the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO), an agency linked to foreign interference activities by the Chinese regime. This decision comes after a 2022 federal court finding exposed OCAO’s involvement in espionage against Canada.
OCAO’s Role in Foreign Interference
The OCAO operates as the external arm of the United Front Work Department, known for its efforts to influence overseas Chinese communities and advance the Chinese government’s agenda. While Ms. Zhang wasn’t directly accused of espionage, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) determined that her 11-year tenure at OCAO contributed to the agency’s transnational repression tactics targeting the Chinese diaspora.
Zhang’s Work and Denial
Zhang, a law graduate, held positions as director of public relations and later director of overseas liaison at OCAO’s Yangzhou branch from 2008 to 2019. Despite IRB’s findings, she denied being an OCAO member and claimed her involvement stemmed from translation errors. She also highlighted Canada’s past issuance of multiple visas without issue.
Targeting Various Groups
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) presented evidence during the hearing, alleging OCAO’s infiltration of Chinese-Canadian communities to suppress groups like Falun Gong practitioners, Taiwanese, Uyghurs, and even Canadian citizens of Chinese descent. CBSA accused OCAO of “covert action and intelligence against them, manipulating them.”
Zhang’s International Engagements
The IRB ruling revealed that Zhang’s work involved overseas business trips up to four times a year, where she interacted with “target groups” including students, prominent individuals, government personnel, and businesses, both within China and abroad.
This case sheds light on China’s alleged interference efforts beyond its borders and the challenges faced by countries like Canada in countering such activities. While Ms. Zhang’s deportation order stands, the broader implications of OCAO’s operations and the need for vigilance against foreign interference remain crucial issues.
It’s important to note that Ms. Zhang couldn’t be reached for comment and The Epoch Times’ attempt to reach IRB for comment wasn’t successful by the time of publication.
This news highlights the growing concern about foreign interference in democratic countries and the importance of protecting national security. The Canadian government’s decision to deport Ms. Zhang sends a strong message that such activities will not be tolerated.