As a Canadian legislator and his family were the recent targets for intimidation by a Chinese official, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expelled a Chinese diplomat, and will now be receiving back one of Canada’s own as the two countries go back and forth in a small game to see who might give up first.
“We understand there is retaliation, but we will not be intimidated. We will continue to do everything necessary to keep Canadians protected from foreign interference. But we decided that we needed to move forward in a responsible way to send a very clear message that we will not accept foreign interference, and regardless of whatever next choices they make, we will not be intimidated. And more, we will ensure that China continues to see – along with other countries that are engaging in foreign interference – that we take this extraordinarily seriously,” said Trudeau.
This announcement comes as Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei is being expelled from Toronto and back to China. In return, China expelled diplomat Jennifer Lynn Lalonde almost immediately after the announcement of Zhao’s expulsion was made.
On Wei’s radar was Michael Chong, a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. According to reports from various outlets Chinese officials were searching for information pertaining to any relatives Chong might have had in their nation.
Chong has previously come under sanctions by China in 2021 when he was at the head of a Canadian parliamentary motion to designate the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority inside the Xinjang province as a “genocide.” For years Chinese officials have shunned and rejected this claim.
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa issued a statement on May 8th about Zhao’s departure and the actions of Canadian authorities.
“This has seriously violated international law, basic norms governing international relations, and the related bilateral agreements and sabotaged the China-Canada relations. China never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs. The so-called ‘China Interference’ is totally groundless, which is the out-and-out smear of China and the political manipulation driven by ideological bias. Such provocations by the Canadian side have severely undermined the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese diplomatic and consular personnel.”
In an unusually collective offensive, Canadian legislators from all major parties have accused Beijing of participating in efforts to target the Chinese-Canadian community, with the extra effort being waged against those who have spoken out against the government of China. Given the actions back in 2018 as the Canadian authorities detained a Chinese citizen on a US arrest warrant, the response is not unusual. Even back then China simply detained two Canadians on the allegation of being spies.
This game between the two nations is something President Biden refuses to get involved with, even when we uncover multiple hidden Chinese police agencies operating inside the US. Instead, he has simply given some stern warnings and tried changing the subject. It’s much the same as the topic of the safety of Taiwan- minimal talk, and even less action.
It’s good to see our neighbors to the north provide a solid example to Americans of how to deal with foreign influence on your country. While PM Trudeau doesn’t get much right (he honestly gets more wrong than he gets right), he nailed this one perfectly. China has been trying to spread its influence across the globe, and far too many nations (including ours) have been too accommodating for far too long.
By sending the message that this aggression will not stand, he is putting the world on notice that Canada is a free nation, even with their strong connection to the UK. They will not be bullied or intimidated by anyone, friend or foe. This message is one he needs to share with President Biden. With both nations facing an unprecedented surge of illegal immigration, they need each other now more than ever, and perhaps standing against Chinese aggression is one area they can base that on.