CanSino vaccine

Classification: unclassified

Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes

Branch/Agency: CSIS

Proposed Response:

If pushed on CSIS advice:

If pushed on links between CanSino and the People’s Republic of China’s Thousand Talents Plan:


On December 2, 2020, Global News published an article about Canada’s collaboration with CanSino on early COVID-19 vaccine research. It links top executives from CanSino to the People’s Republic of China’s Thousand Talents Plan (TTP). The article also highlights the Thousand Talents Plan’s reach in Canada and quotes experts to the effect red flags should have been raised on the deal.

The article points out that several experts and former CSIS officials were interviewed saying that CanSino’s Canadian-educated scientists were likely seen as potential assets by the Chinse Communist Party information collection networks. Notably, it quotes Michel Juneau Katsuya saying the TTP is supported by the United Front Work Department’s own efforts in Canada. In addition, former CIS Director Ward Elcock is also quoted. He mentions China will make use of every opportunity, and that the Thousand Talents plan is one of those opportunities and vector of intelligence collection.

Furthermore, the article mentions that the co-founder of CanSino, Ceo Dr. Xuefeng Yu and executive director Dr. Tao Zhu, have been listed as members of China’s Thousand Talents Plan. Global News refers to the TTP as a recruiting strategy started in 2008 which is now coming under increasing scrutiny from intelligence agencies in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

Of note, article quotes a Canadian security consultant who highlights the agency responsible for the CanSino collaboration— the National Research Council (NRC) — should have seen red flags surrounding a CanSino partnership. The article points to past examples such as the NRC having been targeted in a Chinese cyberattack in 2014, and another case reported on by Global News with regard to a McGill University academic being accused in the United States of secretly sending sensitive technologies to China to modernize its military units.


Prepared by: N/A

Approved by: Tricia Geddes, Deputy Director Policy and Strategic Partnerships, [redacted]

Date modified: