(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

The federal government is taking the relatively rare step of revoking Canadian citizenship from a Chinese man because he allegedly got it through a bogus marriage.

The government is asking the Federal Court of Canada for a declaration that Yan Yang He fraudulently secured citizenship nine years ago.

A statement of claim filed by the citizenship minister accuses He of concealing that he entered into a marriage of convenience with his former spouse, Lisa Marie Mills, in 2004 after coming to Canada as a student. As a result, the statement says, the man was granted permanent-resident status in 2006 by way of spousal sponsorship, opening the door to Canadian citizenship four years later.

Ottawa revoked citizenship from 17 people between April 1, 2017, and May 7 of this year, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The move against He comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing.

China was angered by the arrest late last year of Chinese technology giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver following a request from U.S. authorities. Two Canadians have since been charged in China with trying to steal state secrets, a development widely seen as retaliation the technology executive’s arrest.

The Canadian Press’s attempts to contact He, last said to be living in Toronto, were unsuccessful.

The federal statement of claim says an investigation by the Canada Border Services Agency identified He as a recipient of the services of Wei Ren, who arranged marriages between Chinese nationals and Canadian citizens for a fee, to help them get permanent-resident status.

In 2011, Mills confirmed to the border agency that she entered into a marriage of convenience with He, the claim says. Mills admitted receiving $2,500 on the wedding day and $2,500 after He obtained a divorce from her two years later.

She acknowledged meeting He on only five occasions and that the pair never lived together — clashing with information He included in his application for permanent-resident status.

The government first took steps to revoke He’s Canadian citizenship in December 2016. However, the effort was derailed by a 2017 court decision that said an individual about to lose citizenship must be allowed a fair hearing.

Ottawa subsequently passed legislation that spells out new procedures, including an opportunity for the accused person to make written representations to the government.

The federal claim details the various steps taken by the minister last year to contact He at his last known address about his case and give him a chance to reply.

“The minister is satisfied that Mr. He was previously aware that a revocation proceeding against him had been commenced in 2016 and that all reasonable attempts have been made to notify Mr. He of the minister’s renewed intent to revoke his Canadian citizenship,” the federal claim says.

“Nevertheless, Mr. He has not made any contact with (the department) to ascertain the status of his citizenship revocation proceedings.”

As of Wednesday, He had yet to file his own submission with the court.

READ MORE: China holds appeal hearing for B.C. man sentenced to death

READ MORE: Arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to seek stay of extradition

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools passes $164.3M budget

School district decides against reducing number of community school coordinators

Hospice gets some help thanks to community hike

Nanaimo Community Hospice Society’s Hike for Hospice was held Saturday at Westwood Lake

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Prevent ‘reno-victions’

Lack of vacancy control results in rent hikes far exceeding allowable increases, says letter writer

Space rock band Possum will make Nanaimo debut

This month the group releases its first full-length record, ‘Space Grade Assembly’

Dogs, dogs and more dogs in Nanoose this weekend

Nanaimo Kennel Club hosts annual show

Dogs, dogs and more dogs in Nanoose this weekend

Nanaimo Kennel Club hosts annual show

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Every cigarette and lottery ticket stolen from Parksville’s Log Cabin General Store

Break-in, theft occurred late on June 10 or early June 11

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

Suspect arrested following gunpoint robbery in Qualicum Beach

Stop and Shop Grocery was robbed June 5; man now in custody

Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival comes to Nanaimo

Performances to take place over two days at St. Paul’s Anglican Church

Truck loaded with culverts tips over on highway exit in Nanaimo

Crash blocks northbound access to Trans Canada Highway from Duke Point Highway

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Most Read