OTTAWA: On Monday, Ottawa announced the expulsion of A Chinese diplomat Accused of seeking to intimidate a Canadian MP who criticizes Beijingwhich led the two countries to a new diplomatic row.
“We will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs,” Secretary of State Melanie Jolie said in a statement, declaring the diplomat “persona non grata”.
“We remain firm in our determination that the defense of our democracy is of paramount importance,” she said, adding that foreign diplomats In Canada “they were warned that if they engaged in this type of behaviour, they would be sent back to their country.”
The move exacerbated already strained Sino-Canadian relations, with China “strongly condemning” the decision, which it said was based on “baseless” accusations and promises of repercussions.
In a statement posted on its embassy website in Ottawa, China said it had lodged a formal protest against the violations of international law and diplomatic norms, and accused Canada of “deliberately undermining relations” with its second largest trading partner.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Zhao Wei, the official at the Chinese consulate in Toronto at the heart of the case, has been told to leave Canada within five days.
His expulsion followed an outcry led by parliamentarian Michael Chung over allegations unearthed in local media that China’s intelligence agency planned to target Chung and his relatives in Hong Kong with sanctions over the February 2021 vote on a motion condemning Beijing’s behavior in the Xinjiang region as genocide. .
The Globe and Mail last week quoted a document from the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency as saying, using an acronym for the People’s Republic of China. .
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced mounting pressure to take a hard line with Beijing after revelations in recent months that it sought to influence Canada’s 2019 and 2021 elections.
His critics have used the latest allegations to further accuse him of inertia in the face of foreign interference.
“There was a real political risk for the Trudeau government on this issue, which risks showing its muscles in this way,” said Genevieve Tellier, a professor of politics at the University of Ottawa.
Relations between Beijing and Ottawa have been tense since Canada’s 2018 arrest of a senior Huawei executive and the detention of two Canadian citizens in China in apparent retaliation.
All three were released, but Beijing has continued to criticize Ottawa for siding with Washington’s China policy, and Canadian officials have regularly accused China of meddling.
And after the Chinese ambassador was recalled last week over the latest allegations of meddling, Beijing on Friday lashed out at what Canada called “groundless slander and defamation”.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted that the scandal was “abused by some Canadian politicians and media”.
“It should not have been targeting a Member of Parliament to make this (expulsion) decision,” Chung told reporters Monday in Ottawa.
“We have known for years that the People’s Republic of China uses its accredited diplomats here in Canada to target Canadians and their families,” he said.
He said Canada had become a “playing ground for foreign interference”, including harassment of diaspora communities.
Rorum Chantal, a China expert at the School of Advanced General Studies in Moncton, told AFP that Canada should expect retaliation to take the form of “the expulsion of one Canadian diplomat if not several”.
He said Beijing “could take economic retaliatory measures as a way to send a message to other countries that are talking about meddling.”


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