OTTAWA, CANADA – Canada has expelled a Chinese diplomat from the country over allegations of plans to intimidate a Canadian citizen living in the country. The move comes amid already strained relations between Canada and China, which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing human rights concerns.
Statement by Canadian Foreign Ministry:
In a statement released on Monday, the Canadian Foreign Ministry announced that it had expelled the unnamed Chinese diplomat who was stationed at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa. The diplomat was reportedly involved in a plan to intimidate a Canadian citizen living in Canada.
The statement did not provide any details about the alleged intimidation, but it said that Canada “will not tolerate foreign interference in our democratic processes and the rule of law.”
Canadian officials have been increasingly concerned about China’s attempts to exert influence over its citizens living in Canada. This is not the first time that Canada has expelled a Chinese diplomat over such concerns. In 2019, Canada expelled two Chinese diplomats after they were accused of spying on Canadian citizens.
The latest move is likely to further strain already tense relations between Canada and China. The two countries have been at odds since December 2018, when Canada arrested a top executive from Chinese tech giant Huawei at the request of the United States. China responded by arresting two Canadian citizens and charging them with espionage.
Since then, relations have deteriorated further, with China imposing trade sanctions on Canadian products and Canadian officials accusing China of human rights abuses against its Muslim minority population in Xinjiang.
COVID 19 STRAINED THE RELATION TOO:
The COVID-19 pandemic has also added to the tensions between the two countries. Canada has criticized China’s handling of the initial outbreak of the virus and called for an independent investigation into its origins. China has denied any wrongdoing and accused Canada of spreading misinformation.
The expulsion of the Chinese diplomat is likely to further escalate tensions between Canada and China. It remains to be seen how China will respond to the move, but it is clear that relations between the two countries are unlikely to improve anytime soon.