Canada to expel Chinese diplomat following allegations of foreign influence

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News Desk

Canada on Monday expelled a Chinese diplomat following allegations Beijing tried to intimidate a Canadian politician and interfere in the country’s elections, in a move that raises tensions between the two countries.

Canada declared Toronto-based diplomat Zhao Wei “persona non grata,” its Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said in a statement Monday.

“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.”

The news follows mounting public pressure on the Canadian government to respond following revelations the Canadian Security Intelligence Service found an accredited Chinese diplomat in the country had targeted opposition lawmaker Michael Chong, and his relatives in China, after he sponsored a motion to condemn China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority group.

The intelligence service also reportedly said Beijing had tried to sway the outcome of Canada’s federal elections in 2019 and 2021. The allegations were first reported by Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail.

Beijing has repeatedly denied accusations of political interference in Canada. A statement from the Chinese Embassy in Canada on Monday called allegations of political interference “groundless” and warned of “consequences.”

“China strongly condemns and firmly opposes it and has lodged a solemn representation with Canada. China will resolutely take countermeasures, and Canada will bear all the consequences arising therefrom,” the Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement.

The statement added that the move “deliberately undermines China-Canada relations.”

The allegations have become a growing political problem for the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has said that intelligence services failed to brief him on Chong’s alleged targeting.

Last week, Canada’s Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu announced the summoning of the ambassador Thursday and that it was considering taking retaliatory action over the allegations.

Chong, who represents the Wellington—Halton Hills district in Ontario, has repeatedly called for Zhao’s expulsion since the media report of Chinese actions emerged.

The lawmaker has focused much of his criticism on Trudeau’s government, which he says was too slow to act.

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