China spied on Toronto Falun Gong leader, according to leaked document

Ottawa, Canada - A Chinese agent operating in Canada spied on a Toronto woman who practises

Falun Gong, indicates a document that surfaced Thursday.

Jillian Ye, a database consultant in suburban Scarborough, was the subject of a September 2004 report to officials in China who monitor the banned Falun Gong, a practice of meditation and exercises with roots in traditional Chinese culture.

The document, entitled Intelligence 274(2003), series nkf03292, describes Ye's plans to start a communications firm.

It was addressed to a Deputy Minister Liu with instructions to distribute the contents to the Central Cult Prevention and Management Leadership Committee Office in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The document was among about eight such records obtained by the Epoch Times newspaper through e-mail from Hao Fengjun, a former police officer with the Chinese Public Security Bureau.

"Some of them were detailed, some of them were part of documents," said Cindy Gu, president of the Epoch Times for eastern Canada.

Several Falun Gong practitioners who live in Canada are named in the documents, Gu said Thursday.

The Times, which recently interviewed Hao, made a copy of the document about Ye and a translation available to The Canadian Press.

The New York-based paper publishes editions in Canada in Chinese, English and French.

Ye, 39, became a Canadian citizen after arriving from China in the early 1990s to study computer science at the University of Western Ontario in London.

She did not immediately return phone calls.

But Ye expressed surprise to see her private information in the Chinese document when contacted by the Times this week.

"It makes me wonder where they are getting their information and how closely they are watching us," she said.

Hao, who is seeking asylum in Australia, claims Beijing maintains a vast network of more than 1,000 spies in Canada, with operatives in Toronto, Vancouver and several other major cities.

Hao says he smuggled hundreds of documents into Australia on a digital recording device as part of a visiting tour group.

He decided to seek asylum after the defection of Chen Yonglin, a Chinese diplomat stationed in Sydney, who also told of a vast foreign espionage network run by Beijing.

Hao said in the Times interview that operatives spying on Falung Gong, coded F101, keep a list of Canadian practitioners, tap their phones, and wage campaigns of threats and harassment.

In July 1999, the Communist government outlawed Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, which had attracted millions of practitioners.

Supporters say thousands of Falun Gong followers have been detained and hundreds killed. China denies harming practitioners.

Reports of Chinese spying in Canada have intensified in recent years.

In the Commons on Thursday, the Conservatives pressed the government to address Chinese espionage, claiming the theft of industrial secrets was draining billions of dollars from the Canadian economy.

"Did the prime minister explicitly raise this violation of our sovereignty when he met with leading Chinese government officials in Beijing earlier this year?" asked Tory Leader Stephen Harper.

Paul Martin suggested he did bring up the issue.

"I dealt extensively with Canada's sovereignty and the need to respect state sovereignty between countries," the prime minister told the House.

"It is also well known that Canada maintains a vigorous counter-intelligence program to safeguard Canada's security."

Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and RCMP "do everything that is necessary and required based on the circumstances of any given situation to protect the collective security of Canadians."