Canadian diplomat expelled from China in retaliation for similar move by Ottawa

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China has declared a Canadian diplomat as "persona non grata" in retaliation for Ottawa's expulsion of a Chinese consular official, who Canada's spy agency alleged was involved in a plot to intimidate Conservative MP Michael Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its English website saying China was deploying a "reciprocal countermeasure to Canada's unscrupulous move,'' which it said it "strongly condemns and firmly opposes.''

The statement said Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, consul of the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai, has been asked to leave before May 13, and that China reserves the right to further react.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly issued a statement that Canada had declared Toronto-based diplomat Zhao Wei as "persona non grata.''

Calls for Zhao to be expelled began last week after a report in the Globe and Mail that CSIS had information in 2021 that the Chinese government was looking at ways to intimidate Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong. The federal government has confirmed that report.

Following Joly's announcement, China's embassy in Ottawa issued a statement that accused Canada of breaching international law and acting based on anti-Chinese sentiment.

It said the move "sabotaged'' relations between China and Canada, according to an official English translation provided by the embassy, and promised unspecified retaliatory measures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2023.

The Canadian Press