(OTTAWA) The Chinese government maintains that it has never interfered in Canadian politics and denies the allegations that prompted MP Han Dong to withdraw from the Liberal caucus.

Mr. Dong now sits as an independent in the House of Commons, where a special rapporteur will look into allegations of Chinese interference, including those involving the Toronto-area MP, who allegedly accepted help from Chinese officials to get elected.

Mr. Dong withdrew from the Liberal caucus on Wednesday evening after Global News, on the strength of unnamed security sources, revealed that he had privately advised a senior Chinese diplomat to delay the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor .

Both Michaels spent more than a thousand days behind bars in China before being released in 2021.

In the House of Commons, Mr. Dong assured that he intends to defend himself against “these completely false allegations”. He said he never did anything that would have put the two Michaels in danger.

Asked about Mr. Dong’s decision Thursday in Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson argued that “Canada might be in a better position” to comment on the matter, adding that “China opposes interference in the internal affairs of other countries”.

“We have no interest and will not interfere in the internal affairs of Canada,” Wang Wenbin said.

China arrested Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in apparent retaliation for the December 2018 arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a US extradition warrant. .

Beijing has always maintained that these two files were unrelated, even though the arrests were made shortly after and the two Michaels were released on the same day as Ms. Meng.