(CNN) Canada decided to expel a Chinese diplomat on Monday, after an uproar in the country over allegations of political interference, which Beijing has vehemently denied.
“Canada has decided to declare Mr Gao Wei persona non grata,” read a statement from Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie.
“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.”
The news follows Weeks of uproar in Canada It was sparked by the revelations, first reported by The Globe and Mail, that Canada’s Security Intelligence Service found a Chinese diplomat accredited to the country had targeted opposition MP Michael Chung and his relatives in China after he criticized Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur minorities.
The intelligence service also said Beijing tried to influence the outcome of Canadian federal elections in 2019 and 2021.
Chung has repeatedly called for Chow’s firing since the Globe report surfaced.
Beijing has denied accusations of political interference in Canada. A statement from the Chinese Embassy in Canada on Monday condemned the diplomat’s expulsion and warned of “consequences”.
“This seriously violates international law and basic norms of international relations, seriously violates relevant bilateral agreements between China and Canada, and willfully undermines China-Canada relations,” the Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement.
“China firmly condemns it, firmly opposes it and lodged solemn representations to Canada. China will resolutely take countermeasures, and Canada will bear all the consequences.”
“China never interferes in the internal affairs of other countries. The so-called ‘interference of China in the internal affairs of Canada’ is unfounded,” the statement added.
The allegations became a growing political problem for the government Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeauwho said intelligence services failed to brief him on Chung’s alleged targeting.
Chung himself has focused much of his criticism on the Trudeau government, which he says has been too slow to act.
Last week, Jolie reviewed the possibility of retaliatory measures against China, but warned that Canada needs to carefully assess China’s response.
Sean Ding in Toronto contributed reporting.
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