Politics

Ex-Chinese spy says security agency targets politicians

A former Chinese spy says the Canadian government needs to pay attention to the fact that a senior politician sent flirtatious emails to a Chinese journalist.

Agents of China's Ministry of State Security target politicians, a former Chinese spy said Wednesday.

Defector Li Fengzhi said the Canadian government needs to pay attention to the fact that a senior politician sent flirtatious emails to a Chinese journalist.

Conservative MP Bob Dechert, the junior foreign affairs minister, has admitted to sending emails to a female correspondent for the state- controlled Xinhua news agency.

Li, who was speaking to a conference on espionage via a video link from a secret location, said Canada's spy agency is no doubt monitoring the Dechert situation.

He said not all Chinese journalists are spies, but politicians are targets.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is expected to travel to China next year as part of Canada's continuing re-engagement with the Asian economic giant, has said he doesn't believe Dechert compromised Canadian interests.

The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was rebuked last year when he said foreign agents, possibly Chinese, were influencing some provincial politicians.

He later backtracked, saying his agency didn't think the matter was serious enough to bring to the attention of provincial authorities.