The Canadian Foreign Ministry earlier indicated it was considering several options as its response to reports that a member of the Chinese delegation was behind alleged intimidation tactics to silence criticism of China voiced by a Canadian lawmaker.
Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei was declared persona non grata by the Canadian Foreign Ministry on Monday following allegations of “foreign interference.”
The announcement was issued by Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, who noted in a release that the decision had been made “after careful consideration of all factors at play.”
“Canada has decided to declare persona non grata Mr. Zhao Wei,” reads the release. “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 behavior, they will be sent home.”
“We remain firm in our resolve that defending our democracy is of the utmost importance,” the notice concluded.
The Monday development came days after reports detailed that Chinese ambassador Cong Peiwu had been summoned by the Canadian foreign minister over alleged attempts by Chinese officials to interfere in Canada’s domestic matters.
It was reported at the time that conservative Canadian lawmaker Michael Chong – including his family in Hong Kong – had been targeted as part of a harassment effort after he’d been critical of the Chinese government.
Zhao specifically came under the spotlight last week after a report by Canadian media cited intelligence assessments from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and claimed the official had been tied to the alleged harassment campaign.
Cong previously condemned the harassment claims surrounding Chong following his then meeting with Joly, reiterating in a statement that China fully adheres to a non-interference policy regarding a country’s internal affairs.
The Chinese ambassador went on to say that reports of interference were being used as part of a larger attempt to ratchet up anti-China sentiment following earlier claims China interfered in Canadian elections.
Canadian media earlier reported that Joly and her advisers initially held off on taking action over concerns that Beijing might react with retaliatory measures, similar to the events that took place after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou.
**By Sputnik Globe