China expels Canada's top diplomat in Shanghai in tit-for-tat move

·1-min read
© Sean Kilpatrick, AP

China on Tuesday expelled a Canadian diplomat in Shanghai in a tit-for-tat after Ottawa told a Toronto-based Chinese diplomat to leave the country, escalating already tense bilateral relations amid concerns about Chinese influence in Canada.

Canada on Monday expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei after an intelligence report accused him of trying to target a Canadian lawmaker critical of China's treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.

"We will not tolerate any form of foreign interference," Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Monday.

In response to Canada's "unreasonable actions", China told Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, consul of the Canadian consulate in Shanghai, to leave China by May 13, according to the Chinese foreign ministry in a statement.

China reserves the right to respond further, the foreign ministry added.

Diplomatic tensions have been running high since the detention of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 and Beijing's subsequent arrest of two Canadians on spying charges. All three were freed in 2021.

Last year, Beijing lifted a three-year ban on imports of canola, Canada's largest crop, from trading companies Richardson International and Viterra. The restrictions followed Meng's arrest, but China cited concerns about pests. China is also a major importer of Canadian potash and wheat.


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