Home News China to expel Canadian diplomat in tit-for-tat move

China to expel Canadian diplomat in tit-for-tat move

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The expulsion comes after Canada said it was sending home a Chinese diplomat amid an alleged attempt to intimidate a Canadian legislator.
China’s foreign ministry will expel a Canadian diplomat from the country’s Shanghai consulate as a “reciprocal countermeasure” hours after Canada declared a Chinese diplomat in China’s Toronto consulate as “persona non grata” over alleged involvement in a campaign to intimidate a Canadian legislator critical of Beijing.
“As a reciprocal countermeasure in reaction to Canada’s unscrupulous move, China decides to declare Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, consul of the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai persona non grata,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
In a statement on Monday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Ottawa would expel Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei over the intimidation campaign.
“I have been clear: we will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs. Diplomats in Canada have been warned that if they engage in this type of behaviour, they will be sent home,” Joly said.
The furore began last month when Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper reported that Beijing had sought information about a Canadian legislator’s relatives who may be in China in a likely effort to “make an example of this MP” by targeting his next of kin in order to deter others in Canada from taking positions against the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The newspaper cited a report by Canada’s spy agency. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) report did not name the legislator, but the Globe said a national security source identified the politician as Michael Chong, a member of the opposition Conservative Party of Canada. A Chinese official at China’s consulate in Toronto was said to be involved in the intrigue, according to reports.
China sanctioned Chong in 2021 after he spearheaded a Canadian parliamentary motion condemning Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority as a “genocide”.
Chong welcomed the move, but said “it shouldn’t have taken this long”.
“We have known for years that the PRC is using its accredited diplomats here in Canada to target Canadians and their families,” Chong told a news conference.
“I hope that this makes it clear to not just the PRC but other authoritarian states that have representation here in Canada that this crossing the line of diplomacy into foreign interference threat activities is utterly unacceptable here on Canadian soil,” he said.
The China-Canada relationship has been frosty for several years, especially after Canadian authorities detained Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on a US arrest warrant. China then arrested two Canadians on spying charges.
The standoff ended when all three people were released in 2021, but relations have remained sour over several points of contention, including human rights and trade.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also faced growing calls in recent months to investigate allegations that the Chinese government has interfered in the country’s elections and is operating covert “police stations” in Canada.
Beijing has denied all these claims.

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