China Expels Canadian Diplomat in Retaliatory Move - 9japarrot


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Tuesday 9 May 2023

China Expels Canadian Diplomat in Retaliatory Move


By Nurat Uthman

China has expelled Canada’s consul in Shanghai in a retaliatory move against Ottawa sending home a Chinese diplomat accused of trying to intimidate a Canadian Member of Parliament.

Canada, on Monday, had declared China’s diplomat Zhao Wei “persona non grata” and ordered her to vacate the country, BBC reported.

In response, China on Tuesday ordered the removal of Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, Canada’s diplomat in its Shanghai Consulate.

“China reserves the right to further react,” Beijing said in a statement as both diplomats have five days to exit the countries.

The condemnation marked a significant deterioration in relations between Ottawa and Beijing following reports of alleged Chinese political interference in Canada.

Canada had accused China of targeting its opposition lawmaker Michael Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong after Chong accused China of human rights violations.

Last Thursday, Canada summoned China’s ambassador to restate that Canada would not tolerate interference in its affairs.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly on Monday announced Zhao a “persona non grata”, a Latin phrase for an “unwelcome person”.

China called the move “unscrupulous” and declared the same of Ms Lalonde – saying it was a “reciprocal countermeasure”.

The move by Ottawa follows a Canadian intelligence report, which emerged in the Globe and Mail newspaper, that accused Mr Zhao of being involved in gathering information about Chong, 51, following his vocal criticism China’s treatment of its Uighur minority population.

It said Canada’s spy agency believes China sought details about Chong’s relatives in Hong Kong in an effort to deter “anti-China positions”.

The politician put forward a motion in parliament in 2021 that declared China’s treatment of Uighurs a genocide. China has denied the accusations and sanctioned Chong shortly after.

Ms Joly said on Monday that Canada “will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs” and that the decision to expel the diplomat had “been taken after careful consideration of all factors at play”.

Canada’s spy agency has since been directed to immediately pass on information about threats to members of parliament and their families.

“China strongly condemns and firmly opposes this and has lodged serious démarches and strong protest to Canada,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday.

China last week accused Canada of “slander and defamation” over the claims Beijing targeted Chong and his family.

Chong, a Conservative, has criticised the governing Liberals of mishandling the matter and on Monday said: “It shouldn’t have taken two years for the government to make this decision”.

The allegations come amid other intelligence reports, leaked to Canadian media outlets, that have accused China of attempting to interfere in Canadian elections.

In March, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an independent special rapporteur to investigate the interference claims.

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