China Expels Canadian Diplomat in Retaliation

China Expels Canadian Diplomat in Retaliation
Canada-China Relations Deteriorate as Diplomats Expelled


China has ordered Canada’s consul in Shanghai to leave the country in response to Canada expelling a Chinese diplomat, Zhao Wei, whom they had accused of attempting to intimidate a Canadian Member of Parliament. Both diplomats have five days to exit the countries. This exchange marks a significant decline in relations between the two countries, following reports of alleged Chinese political interference in Canada.

The conflict began when Canada accused China of targeting its opposition lawmaker Michael Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong after Chong accused China of human rights violations against the Uighur population. In response, Canada declared Zhao a “persona non grata” and ordered her to leave the country. China retaliated by expelling Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, Canada’s diplomat in its Shanghai Consulate.

Canada’s spy agency released a report accusing Zhao of gathering information about Chong and his relatives in an effort to deter “anti-China positions.” Chong had put forward a motion in parliament that declared China’s treatment of Uighurs a genocide, leading to sanctions from China.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mélanie Joly, announced Zhao’s expulsion, stating that Canada “will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs.” Canada’s spy agency has since been directed to immediately pass on information about threats to members of parliament and their families.

China has denied the accusations, calling the move by Canada “unscrupulous” and stating that Lalonde’s expulsion was a “reciprocal countermeasure.” China last week accused Canada of “slander and defamation” over the claims that they had targeted Chong and his family.

The conflict also follows other intelligence reports that have accused China of attempting to interfere in Canadian elections. In response, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an independent special rapporteur to investigate the interference claims in March.

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