The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has arrested a man in the province of Quebec on espionage charges. Yuesheng Wang, 35, has been accused of obtaining trade secrets to benefit the Chinese government. The China-Canada relationship has been frosty for several years, especially after Canadian authorities detained Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on a United States arrest warrant. China had then arrested two Canadians on spying charges. While the standoff ended when all three people were released last year, relations have remained sour over several points of contention, including human rights and trade.
According to Independent, Yuesheng worked at the state-owned firm as a researcher in battery materials and was arrested on Monday. The research unit was involved in developing battery materials along with the Army Research Laboratory in the United States.
The man is facing four criminal charges – obtaining trade secrets, unauthorised computer use, fraud for obtaining trade secrets, and breach of trust by a public officer – the outlet further said.
The police said an investigation found that Yuesheng had been spying at the electricity utility from February 2018 to October this year.
“While employed by Hydro-Quebec, Mr Wang allegedly obtained trade secrets to benefit the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to the detriment of Canada’s economic interests,” the police said in a statement after arresting the 35-year-old.
The man joined the company in 2016 and was fired this month, the Independent report further said.
On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exchanged barbs on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali over the leaked reports of their meeting.
In perhaps a very rare open remark captured on television camera, an agitated Xi was seen objecting to Trudeau saying whatever they discussed in their earlier meeting was leaked to the media.
But Mr Trudeau interrupted Xi’s translator saying, “We believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have.”
For its part, China has not acknowledged Xi Jinping’s meeting with Trudeau.