On Monday, Canada labeled Chinese envoy Zhao Wei “persona non grata” and ordered her to depart.
China expelled Canada’s Shanghai Consulate diplomat Jennifer Lynn Lalonde on Tuesday.
“China reserves the right to react further,” Beijing stated.
Both diplomats must leave in five days.
After claims of Chinese political influence in Canada, Ottawa and Beijing criticized each other.
Canada accused China of targeting Hong Kong opposition lawmaker Michael Chong and his relatives after Mr. Chong accused China of human rights abuses.
Canada summoned China’s ambassador last Thursday to underscore its refusal to allow involvement.
Canada has decided to declare persona non grata, Mr. Zhao Wei. pic.twitter.com/rZXeNTtdV4
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) May 8, 2023
Since Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada on US fraud charges in 2018, and Beijing arrested two Canadians on spying allegations, diplomatic relations have been strained. 2021 released all three.
China denied linking the cases, but opponents accused Beijing of exploiting the Canadians as political pawns.
Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, designated Mr. Zhao “persona non grata” on Monday.
China labeled the move “unscrupulous” and Ms. Lalonde’s “reciprocal countermeasure.”
Ottawa’s decision follows a Globe and Mail intelligence investigation that accused Mr. Zhao of gathering information on Mr. Chong, 51 after he publicly criticized China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority.
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Canada’s spy agency says China wants information about Mr. Chong’s relatives in Hong Kong to dissuade “anti-China positions.”
In 2021, the politician called China’s Uyghur treatment genocide. Mr. Chong was sanctioned after China refuted the claims.
On Monday, Ms. Joly said Canada “will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs” and that the decision to expel the diplomat had “been taken after careful consideration of all factors at play.”
Canada’s intelligence agency must immediately report threats to parliamentarians and their families.
“China strongly condemns and firmly opposes this and has lodged serious démarches and strong protest to Canada,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.
From supporting democracies and diplomacy, to ensuring regional security, to building sustainable development, Canada has a key role to play on the global stage— and we’re meeting the moment. pic.twitter.com/2IyTTXoMxM
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) May 6, 2023
China accused Canada of “slander and defamation” last week for claiming Beijing targeted Mr. Chong and his family.
On Monday, Conservative Mr. Chong remarked, “It shouldn’t have taken two years for the government to make this decision.”
Other intelligence files released to Canadian media have accused China of interfering in Canadian elections.
Justin Trudeau appointed an independent special rapporteur to investigate interference charges in March.