November 17, 2006 Friday
Canada has sent a Chinese diplomat packing for spying on Falun Gong practitioners while posted in Ottawa, says a newspaper report.
The government recently refused to extend the diplomatic visa of Wang Pengfei, a second secretary at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, according to the Epoch Times, which publishes in several countries and reports extensively on persecutions in China.
Wang, who worked as an education officer, left the country prior to October 25th, when his existing visa was to expire, according to the report.
It first appeared in the paper's Chinese-language edition, and was published in English in Canada on Thursday.
Wang is said to have been gathering information on Chinese-Canadian devotees of Falun Gong, an ancient meditative practice banned by Beijing, as well as inciting students to help him.
The allegation came amid reports the Chinese government snubbed Canada by calling off a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chinese President Hu Jintao. An official said Thursday the meeting would go ahead after all.
Wang's name appeared on the roster of foreign diplomats in Canada published in September, but is not included in the most recent index, from November.
Sources told the Epoch Times that Wang believed his rejection was tied to his activities in Canada, which went beyond his prescribed duties as a diplomat.
A Foreign Affairs spokesman said Thursday the department could not discuss diplomats posted to Canada.
A media officer at the Chinese Embassy did not return calls Wednesday or Thursday. The embassy has denied spying on Falun Gong practitioners.
The Epoch Times is a private news media company with corporate offices in New York.
It states that it is an independent voice in news. Its English-language print edition is distributed weekly in Canada, often free of charge, and other major western countries.
The newspaper reports extensively on persecutions in China, especially of Falun Gong practitioners. On its website, it has a running tally on the number of people who have renounced the Chinese Communist party.
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