Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei has been expelled from Canada after allegedly participating in an intimidation campaign against an anti-Beijing lawmaker.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly released a statement Monday declaring Zhao “persona non grata” and expelling him from the country, saying the conduct Zhao allegedly engaged in was unacceptable. Zhao was accused by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) of targeting Canadian opposition lawmaker Michael Chong, who had been critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over its treatment of Uyghur Muslims, Reuters reported.
Canada has decided to declare persona non grata, Mr. Zhao Wei. pic.twitter.com/rZXeNTtdV4
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) May 8, 2023
“I have been clear: we will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs. Diplomats in Canada have been warned that if they engage in this type of behaviour, they will be sent home,” Joly said. “This decision has been taken after careful consideration of all factors at play. We remain firm in our resolve that defending our democracy is of the utmost importance.”
Zhao was named in a 2021 CSIS report on Chinese influence operations in Canada and potential threats to Chong, a conservative lawmaker who has been an outspoken critic of the CCP. Details of the report became public May 1, when it was revealed China may have been pursuing an effort to “make an example” out of Chong, according to Reuters. Zhao was reportedly accused of helping to gather information on Chong. (RELATED: Biden’s China Ambassador: CCP ‘Not Contributing’ To Fentanyl Problem)
The Chinese Consulate in Toronto called the report “baseless,” and China has denied interfering in the domestic politics of Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused China of attempting to meddle in Canadian elections in both 2019 and 2021.