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Canadian Foreign Affairs Official Keeps Job After "Flirtatious" Emails to Xinhua Reporter

7 years ago82 views

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A Canadian MP is keeping his foreign affairs job after admitting to sending “flirtatious” emails to a Toronto-based reporter with the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Bob Dechert is the Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s foreign affairs minister, John Baird. The reporter’s husband exposed email exchanges between Dechert and Xinhua’s Shi Rong last Thursday, The Globe and Mail reported.

In one of the emails sent in April 2010, Dechert tells Shi: “You are so beautiful. I really like the picture of you by the water with your cheeks puffed. That look is so cute, I love it when you do that. Now, I miss you even more.”

Dechert apologized for the emails on Friday, but maintained he and Shi were just friends despite the flirtatious emails.

Still, the correspondence raised concerns for some, not just because of their content, but also because of Shi’s role as a Xinhua reporter. Western counter-intelligence organizations have described the mouthpiece of the Chinese communist regime as having intelligence functions, with some of its reporters believed to be operating as spies.

[Liu Yiming, Former Chinese Reporter]:
“Journalists should report on news, instead of being involved in intelligence work. But the truth is, many journalists posted overseas for China’s state-run media have dual roles, they’re both reporters and spies.”

The Canadian government has allowed Dechert to keep his foreign affairs job after he was made to disclose his relationship with Shi. But others like Charles Burton, former diplomat to China and Professor of Brock University, wants Dechert to resign because of his “serious error in judgment.”

Head of Canada’s intelligence agency, CSIS, Richard Fadden, warned last year that the Chinese regime had attempted to infiltrate and manipulate Canadian policy and decision makers.

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