Sunday, May 28, 2023

China Expels Canadian Diplomat in Retaliation

China has expelled a Canadian diplomat in retaliation for Canada's decision to order a Chinese consular official to leave the country. Read the latest update.

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Maria Sladek
Maria Sladek
Maria Sladek is an Austrian-based journalist with over five years of experience reporting on local and national news. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Vienna and has worked for several well-respected Austrian newspapers. Maria is known for her in-depth reporting and ability to uncover hidden stories, and she has received several awards for her work. She is dedicated to delivering accurate and fair journalism to her readers and is highly respected in the industry for her professionalism and integrity.
China Expels Canadian Diplomat

China has announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat in retaliation for Canada’s decision to order a Chinese consular official to leave the country over alleged threats he made against a Canadian lawmaker and his family. The announcement came from China’s Foreign Ministry, which stated that it was deploying a “reciprocal countermeasure to Canada’s unscrupulous move,” which it said it “firmly opposes.”

According to the statement, Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, the top Canadian diplomat in Shanghai, has been asked to leave by May 13, and China “reserves the right to take further actions in response.” This move by China comes after Canada expelled a Chinese diplomat who Canada’s spy agency alleged was involved in a plot to intimidate an opposition lawmaker and his relatives in Hong Kong.

The diplomat in question, Toronto-based Zhao Wei, has five days to leave the country. Canada’s spy service indicated that in 2021, opposition Conservative lawmaker Michael Chong and his Hong Kong relatives were targeted after Chong criticised Beijing’s human rights record. China, however, has denied the accusations and issued a statement on its website claiming that Zhao’s expulsion was “based on rumors of the so-called ‘China Interference’ hyped up by some politicians and media.” The statement added that “all consequences arising therefrom shall be borne by the Canadian side.”

Expulsions of diplomats are relatively rare, but China has in recent years expelled members of the foreign media in retaliation for their reporting, and has placed limitations on members of the entirely Communist Party-controlled Chinese state media posted in the US and elsewhere.

The revelation about Chong is the latest in a string of foreign interference attempts allegedly made by the Chinese government in Canada in recent years, including efforts to meddle in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. In response, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed former Governor General David Johnston to further study the issue, including whether a public inquiry is needed.

Canada-China relations have been strained for several years, particularly since China detained former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor shortly after Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the behest of US authorities who accused her of fraud. The pair, who were accused of vague national security crimes, were released hours after Meng’s lawyers ended the nearly three-year-long feud embroiling Ottawa, Beijing and Washington with a deal under which she accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company’s business dealings in Iran.

The Canadian government has not yet responded to China’s latest move, but the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat is likely to further strain already tense relations between the two countries. It remains to be seen what further actions China may take in response to Canada’s expulsion of Zhao Wei, or whether Canada will take any further retaliatory measures. The situation is likely to be closely monitored by governments and observers around the world, as tensions continue to simmer between Canada and China.

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