MP Han Dong serves Global News with libel notice, demands retraction and apology

Lawyers representing MP Han Dong have served Global News with a notice of libel over its stories about allegations of electoral interference by Beijing.

Don Valley North MP stepped away from the Liberal caucus last week and is currently sitting as an Independent

A man in a jacket, shirt and tie stands in a hallway.
Liberal MP Han Dong speaks to reporters at Parliament on March 21, 2023. (Chris Rands/CBC)

Lawyers representing MP Han Dong have served Global News with a notice of libel over articles that allege the former Liberal MP was a "witting" participant in a Beijing-backed foreign interference network.

"Mr. Dong has suffered damage to his reputation and career as a result of Global News' reporting targeting him with these vicious and untrue accusations," says a press release from the legal firm Polley Faith LLP.

The notice of libel, which has been provided to CBC, cites two stories about Dong and a number of associated broadcast segments.

Last week, Global published a story alleging Dong advised a senior Chinese diplomat in February 2021 that Beijing should hold off on freeing Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians being held by China at the time.

The story quotes two anonymous national security sources who alleged that Dong told China's consul general Han Tao in Toronto that releasing the men would benefit the Conservatives.

In a February story, Global News cited anonymous sources who alleged national security officials gave an urgent briefing to senior aides from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office in 2019 "warning them that one of their candidates was part of a Chinese foreign interference network."

The libel notice demands that Global issue a full retraction, remove the stories from its website and apologize to Dong.

"Global News has failed to follow principles of responsible journalism and has maliciously made false claims about Mr. Dong," the press release said.

The notice names a number of Global reporters, including the author of the two stories in question. 

Dong said earlier this week that he planned to take legal action against Global. At the time, Sonia Verma, editor-in-chief of Global News, said in a media statement that "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."

CBC reached out to Global on Friday but a spokesperson said, "We are unable to provide comment as we are now in receipt of a libel notice and refer you back to a statement issued earlier this week."

The libel notice doesn't mean a lawsuit has been filed, but Dong is demanding the retraction be made within seven days.


Darren Major

CBC Journalist

Darren Major is a senior writer for CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He can be reached via email at darren.major@cbc.ca.

With files from Kate McKenna and Raffy Boudjikanian