Legislator Threats Canada Moves To Expel Chinese Diplomat

Canada has concluded plans to expel a Chinese diplomat after Zhao Wei was accused of having some degree of involvement in a campaign that was targeted at intimidating a Canadian opposition legislator critical of Beijing.

In a statement issued on Monday which was obtained by Africa Today News, New York, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly revealed that the Canadian government had already designated Zhao, a diplomat based in Toronto, ‘persona non grata’.

‘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 submitted.

The Chinese government has rejected the allegations that it interfered in Canada’s internal affairs, saying last week that it has ‘no interest whatsoever in doing so’.

Africa Today News, New York recalls that on Monday, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa had put our a statement on its website, condemning the expulsion and reiterating its position that Beijing has never meddled in Canada’s domestic affairs. The statement also added that the embassy had lodged a formal complaint with the Chinese government.

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‘China will resolutely take countermeasures,’ the statement warned. “If the Canadian side acts recklessly, China will definitely fight back resolutely and forcefully.’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has been under pressure to take action after the Globe and Mail newspaper reported earlier this month that China had sought information about any relatives of a Canadian legislator “who may be located” within its borders.

The move was likely part of an effort to “make an example of this MP and deter others” from taking anti-China positions, the newspaper said, citing Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

While the CSIS report did not name the lawmaker, the Globe said a national security source identified the targeted politician as Michael Chong, a member of the opposition Conservative Party of Canada.

China sanctioned Chong in 2021 after he spearheaded a Canadian parliamentary motion condemning Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority as a “genocide” – a charge rejected by the Chinese government for years.

‘It shouldn’t have taken this long,’ Chong said during a news conference on Monday afternoon, responding to Canada’s announcement that it was blacklisting Zhao, the Chinese diplomat.

‘We have known for years that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] is using its accredited diplomats here in Canada to target Canadians and their families,’ Chong said.

‘I hope that this makes it clear to not just the PRC but other authoritarian states that have representation here in Canada that this crossing the line of diplomacy into foreign interference threat activities is utterly unacceptable here on Canadian soil.’

The accusations this month have led to renewed tensions between Ottawa and Beijing. The two countries have had frosty relations for several years over a range of issues, including human rights, trade, and the arrests of Canadian and Chinese citizens.

Africa Today News, New York

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