Canada expels Chinese diplomat amid allegations of interference

09 May 2023 12:56pm
Police and traffic police stand outside the Canadian embassy in Beijing on May 9, 2023. - Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP
Police and traffic police stand outside the Canadian embassy in Beijing on May 9, 2023. - Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP
NEW YORK - Canada on Tuesday declared an official from the Chinese Consulate in Toronto "persona non grata" amid allegations of foreign interference, reported German news agency (dpa).

"Canada has decided to declare persona non grata Mr Zhao Wei," Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said in a statement.

"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, adding that "all factors at play" were carefully considered before a decision was made.

Canadian broadcaster CBC cited a government source as saying that Zhao has five days to leave the country.

Last week, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported, citing a top secret document from 2021, that the Chinese government was targetting Canadian lawmaker Michael Chong and his family in Hong Kong after he sponsored a parliamentary motion condemning Beijing's conduct in Xinjiang as genocide.

According to the report, Zhao was involved, which sparked calls by Chong for his expulsion.

A Chinese Embassy spokesperson said in a statement that the expulsion "has seriously violated international law, basic norms governing international relations and the related bilateral agreements, and sabotaged the China-Canada relations."

"The Chinese side strongly condemns and firmly opposes this, and has lodged stern protest with the Canadian side. The Chinese side will take resolute countermeasures and all consequences arising therefrom shall be borne by the Canadian side," the statement continued.

The spokesperson went on to deny Beijing's interference in other countries' internal affairs, calling such allegations "totally groundless" and a smear campaign.

"The Canadian side has chosen to condone and echo the anti-China forces' hype-up and conduct extreme actions against a Chinese consular official," the statement said.

"If the Canadian side acts wantonly and arbitrarily, it will be met with China's resolute and strong reactions." -Bernama-dpa

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