Hours after the Canadian government expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei, China retaliated by expelling a Canadian diplomat.
On Tuesday, China declared Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, a diplomat based in Shanghai, “persona non grata.” Lalonde has been told to leave the country by May 13. It is unclear why Lalonde was targeted.
In a statement, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry described the decision as “a reciprocal countermeasure in reaction to Canada’s unscrupulous move.”
Further retaliation measures could be taken as China says it “reserves the right to further react.”
On Monday, Canada declared persona non grata Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei for allegedly working with China’s intelligence agency to target Conservative MP Michael Chong and his family over Chong’s criticism of China’s human rights record.
“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,” wrote Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.
“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.”
Last week, the Globe and Mail reported that CSIS had evidence that China was planning to intimidate Conservative MP Michael Chong and his family. The federal government has since verified that report.
Chong was threatened following his motion to label China’s forced encampment of the Uyghur minority a genocide.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has since denied claims that he was aware of China’s attempts to intimidate Chong and his family.