Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced that a Chinese diplomat is no longer welcome in the country on Monday and China retaliated by expelling a Canadian diplomat. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
May 9 (UPI) -- Canada and China have each expelled each other's diplomats in a tit-for-tat exchange following allegations that a Chinese ambassador harassed a Canadian lawmaker.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced on Monday that it declared China's diplomat in Toronto Zhao Wei persona non grata "after careful consideration of all factors at play."
"I have been clear: We will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs," Joly said in a Twitter post. "Diplomats in Canada have been warned that if they engage in this type of behavior, they will be sent home.
China responded to the expulsion on Tuesday by asking a Canadian diplomat to leave its country. China's foreign ministry said it "strongly" condemned Zhao's removal.
"As a reciprocal countermeasure in reaction to Canada's unscrupulous move, China decides to declare Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, consul of the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai persona non grata, who has been asked to leave China no later than May 13," China's foreign ministry said in a statement.
The moves came after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service determined Zhao was connected to harassment facing Canadian lawmaker Michael Chong and his family in Hong Kong over his complaints of Beijing's treatment of the Uyghur minority there.
Canada summoned China's ambassador last week over evidence that Beijing attempted to influence the outcome of Canadian federal elections in 2019 and 2021 after an investigation by the CSIS.
Chong, who said he had not been in contact with his family in Hong Kong "out of an abundance of caution" said the government should have moved to expel Zhao "years ago."
"My hope is this sends a clear message to authoritarian states that these kinds of activities are completely incompatible with being a diplomat in this country," he told a press conference Monday.