China said on Tuesday it would expel the Canadian consul in Shanghai in response to a similar move, after Ottawa said it would expel a Chinese diplomat it accuses of seeking to intimidate a Canadian deputy over his criticism of Beijing.
China decided to declare Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, Consul General of Canada in Shanghai, “persona non grata,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.
In a statement on its website, China’s foreign ministry said it had asked Canadian diplomat Jennifer Lynn Lalonde to leave China by May 13, according to Reuters.
Ottawa announced on Monday that a Chinese diplomat has been expelled. The diplomat was accused of attempting to intimidate a Canadian lawmaker and his family due to his criticism of Beijing.
“Canada has decided to declare Zhao Wei persona non grata,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolly said in a statement.
The statement warns diplomats in Canada that they will be expelled if they interfere in the country’s internal affairs. Any such behavior will not be tolerated.
The expulsion of the Chinese diplomat followed Canadian MP Michael Chong’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.
Canadian Security Intelligence prepared a report on Chinese influence in Canada in 2021, which included information about threats to Parliament member Michael Chung and his family, according to Reuters.
The newspaper quoted confidential documents and an unnamed security source, that the Chinese intelligence agency planned to target Zhong 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, according to AFP.
According to a Canadian intelligence document, it is highly likely that the punishment of the deputy will serve as a warning to others who might hold anti-China stances.
The Chinese diplomat at the country’s consulate in Toronto, Zhao Wei, was reported to be involved in the scheme.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin 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, according to AFP.
China says it has not interfered in Canada’s internal affairs and has no interest in it. The Chinese Consulate General in Toronto said the Canadian intelligence report was “baseless and untrue,” according to Reuters.
According to AFP, a parliamentary committee and the Canadian Elections Agency are currently conducting sessions and investigations regarding the accusations, which Beijing denies.