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Canada expels Chinese diplomat, and Beijing vows “severe measures”

“Canada has decided to declare Zhao Wei persona non grata,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie said in a statement.

“We will not tolerate any form of interference in our internal affairs. Diplomats in Canada have been warned that if they engage in this type of behavior they will be expelled,” the statement added.

The expulsion of the Chinese diplomat comes in the wake of Canadian MP Michael Chung’s denunciation of a report in the Globe and Mail newspaper last week that the government had turned a blind eye to Beijing’s meddling in Canadian affairs.

The newspaper quoted confidential documents and an unnamed security source as saying that the Chinese intelligence agency planned to target Chung and his relatives in Hong Kong with sanctions, because of his vote in February 2021 in favor of a law condemning Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang as genocide.

It quoted a Canadian intelligence document that said, “This will almost certainly set an example for the deputy and deter others from taking positions against the People’s Republic of China.”

On Monday, Beijing considered that Canada had “sabotaged” relations between the two countries by expelling the Chinese diplomat, vowing to take “countermeasures”.

“The Chinese side will take firm countermeasures, and all the consequences that will follow are the responsibility of the Canadian side,” said a statement issued by the Chinese embassy in Canada, calling on Ottawa to “step back from the brink.”

Last week, Beijing condemned what it described as “baseless slander and defamation” by Canada, which summoned the Chinese ambassador in Ottawa over the case.

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China’s Foreign Ministry denied any wrongdoing and stressed that the case had been “inflated” by some Canadian politicians and media.

Canadian Prime Minister Jason Trudeau faced increasing pressure to toughen his stances on Beijing, in the wake of reports that revealed Chinese efforts to influence the results of the Canadian elections in 2019 and 2021.

The accusations, which Beijing denies, have become the subject of ongoing sessions conducted by a parliamentary committee and investigations by the Canadian Elections Agency, according to Agence France-Presse.