MP Han Dong Suing Global News Over Report Alleging He Told Chinese Diplomat to Delay Releasing 2 Michaels

MP Han Dong Suing Global News Over Report Alleging He Told Chinese Diplomat to Delay Releasing 2 Michaels
Han Dong celebrates with supporters as a provincial Liberal candidate in the Toronto area on May 22, 2014. He later became a Liberal MP, but recently resigned over Chinese interference allegations and now sits as an independent. (The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette)
Andrew Chen

MP Han Dong says he is planning to sue Global News over a recent report alleging that the former member of the Liberal caucus had told a Chinese diplomat to delay the release of two Canadian citizens imprisoned in China.

“Yes, I am taking legal action against Global News and Corus Entertainment,” Dong wrote in a Twitter post on March 27. “I have retained a lawyer to begin legal action to its fullest extent.”
A March 22 Global News report cited anonymous national security sources saying that in February 2021, Dong advised Han Tao, Chinese consul-general in Toronto, to delay the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. The two men, who came to be known as the “two Michaels,” had been imprisoned for over two years at the time in what was regarded as China’s hostage diplomacy in retaliation against Ottawa’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant.

The report said Dong made the suggestion because the release of the two Canadians would come to benefit the opposition Conservatives. The report added that at the same time, Dong allegedly recommended Beijing to make some “progress” on the cases of the two men, which would lend support to the Liberal government that was under pressure over Beijing’s inhumane treatment of the Canadians.

Hours after the Global report was published on March 22, Dong resigned from the Liberal caucus, but said in Parliament that he will “defend myself against these absolutely untrue claims.” Dong is now sitting in the House of Commons as an Independent representing Toronto’s Don Valley North riding.

In response to Dong’s announcement about taking legal accusation and his accusation that its reporting was “false,” Global News defended its journalistic standard.

“Global News is governed by a rigorous set of Journalistic Principles and Practices. We are very mindful of the public interest and legal responsibility of this important accountability reporting,” Sonia Verma, Global News’ editor-in-chief and vice president, said in an email statement to The Epoch Times.


In a previous statement to Global News, Dong acknowledged his conversation with the Chinese consul-general, but rejected allegations he had advised that Beijing should hold off releasing the two Michaels.

In his Twitter statement, Dong reiterated his remarks in Parliament, saying that he “took every available opportunity to advocate on behalf of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and to call for their immediate release.”

A separate Global News report reviewed Dong’s past statements on China-related issues since he was elected MP, but found no remarks from him in Parliament in relation to the two men’s plight prior to March 2023. The Epoch Times also reviewed open-source parliamentary records of Dong’s remarks and found that he made no mention of the two Canadians before his March 22 speech.

Dong didn’t respond to multiple inquiries from The Epoch Times.

Following his departure from the Liberal caucus, Dong voted in favour of a motion reviving the call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to launch a public inquiry to investigate Beijing’s alleged foreign interference in two Canadian federal elections in 2019 and 2021.
Trudeau has repeatedly dismissed requests by opposition parties for a public inquiry into foreign interference in elections. Instead, he has named former governor general David Johnston as special rapporteur mandated to investigate interference allegations and make recommendations to the Liberal government on whether a public inquiry is needed.
Peter Wilson contributed to this report.
Andrew Chen is a news reporter with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times.
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