Xinhua Reporter Wanted Divorce for Dechert, Email Alleges
A reporter with the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency wanted to divorce her husband to “continue her love affair” with Conservative member of Parliament Bob Dechert , says the email sent from her account to scores of government and media contacts last week.
The email says, in Chinese: “To continue her love affair with this member of Parliament, Shi Rong pitilessly asked to end her marriage while stationed overseas. This is the Shi Rong you should know about.”
The email sender leaves no name, but Shi has told the Globe and Mail that her account was hacked by her husband. Dechert himself said he believed the account had been hacked “as a part of an ongoing domestic dispute.”
The text seems to contradict Dechert’s claim that his relationship with Shi was merely a friendship.
Attached to the email are copies of several email and text exchanges between Shi and Dechert as well as a photo of the two together with another unidentified woman.
Dechert is the parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs and the MP for Mississauga-Erindale. He is also a vice-chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association, which aims to encourage closer ties between the two countries.
Dechert accompanied Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his trip to China in 2009. According to the biography posted on his website, Dechert is married.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office has said that Dechert denied engaging in any inappropriate behaviour, and that the PMO has no information to the contrary.
However, security experts say a relationship between a government official and a Xinhua employee is a cause for concern.
David Harris, the former chief of strategic planning for Canada’s intelligence agency, CSIS, told The Epoch Times that one of Xinhua’s functions is to operate “as a front for Chinese intelligence.”
“We know that political, industrial, and other personalities must be on their guard against the long-recognized Chinese government’s use of attractive men and women to compromise, pressure, and otherwise manipulate them,” Harris said.
Harris said Xinhua has “various intelligence functions” on behalf of the Chinese regime, and some of its journalists are thought to operate as intelligence collectors. The U.S.-based global intelligence company Stratfor has said the agency has historically been a “major cover” for the Chinese Ministry of State Security officers and agents.
CSIS head Richard Fadden said last year that some Canadian politicians are under the influence of a foreign regime and alluded to China as the most aggressive country in the effort to gain influence.
In one of the emails, Dechert writes from his parliamentary email account to Shi, referring to a picture that Shi sent him of her, “You are so beautiful. I really like that 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.”
In another email, he tells Shi that as he drove to Ottawa, “I enjoyed the drive by thinking of you,” and tells her to watch the live stream video of the parliament that evening because he will smile at her while he votes.
Also included in the email is a photo of what appears to be a BlackBerry message from “Bob Dechert M.P.,” that reads: “Hello, I am happy that you are safe. I love you too. See you soon.”