Beijing : China has strongly condemned and firmly opposed the Canadian side declaring a Chinese diplomat as "persona non grata" on Monday, Global Times reported citing the Chinese Embassy in Canada. The Chinese Embassy in Canada vowed to take "powerful and resolute countermeasures."
China's statement comes after Canada announced that it is expelling Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei. Canada has alleged that Zhao Wei was involved in a plot to intimidate Conservative MP Michael Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong, Global Times reported citing The Canadian Press. An intelligence report accused him of trying to intimidate a Canadian lawmaker critical of China's treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.
Chinese Embassy in Canada said that Ottawa's actions violate international law and basic principles of international relations and relevant bilateral agreements between the two nations.
The Chinese Embassy said that Beijing never interferes in the internal affairs of other countries. It called the claim of "Chinese interference in Canadian domestic affairs" hyped up by some politicians and media "baseless and a blatant slander" against China on the basis of ideological bias and political manipulation.
The Chinese Embassy noted Canada's action seriously undermines the legitimate rights and interests of Beijing's diplomatic and consular personnel. Canada's action comes after the Canadian side summoned the Chinese ambassador on Thursday and threatened the expulsion of Chinese diplomatic and consular personnel.
The Chinese Embassy said Beijing's diplomatic and consular personnel in Canada have performed their duties according to relevant international conventions and bilateral engagements between the two nations.
It further said that the Canadian government deliberately caters to anti-China forces and takes measures against Chinese consular officials. It further said that China will never accept it. Chinese Embassy urged the Canadian side to stop wrong actions and "not to go further down the wrong path."
Canada has decided to expel a Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei following an uproar in the country over allegations of political meddling, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement. However, Beijing has fiercely denied any election interference, calling the claims "purely baseless and defamatory".
"Canada has decided to declare persona non grata Mr. Zhao Wei," read a statement by Foreign Minister Melanie Joly.
"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," she added.
"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," the statement read.
This development comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March this year announced to probe alleged Chinese interference in their recent elections by an independent special rapporteur, according to CNN.
As per the CNN report, the development comes after weeks of uproar in Canada sparked by revelations, first reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper, that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service found an accredited Chinese diplomat in the country had targeted opposition leader Michael Chong and his relatives in China after his criticisms of Beijing's treatment of its Uyghur minorities.