Canada Declares Chinese Diplomat ‘Persona Non Grata’ Over Threat to MP’s Family

Noé Chartier
By Noé Chartier
May 9, 2023Canada

Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei, who has reportedly been involved in targeting Conservative MP Michael Chong and threatening his family members in Hong Kong, has been declared persona non grata by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly.

“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 behaviour, they will be sent home,” Joly said in a statement on May 8.

Joly said the decision has been made after a “careful consideration of all factors at play.”

The minister told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee on May 4 that her department was assessing the consequences of taking such as step, particularly in light of previous actions by Beijing in the case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

In retaliation for Canada honouring its legal obligation to the United States by keeping Meng, who was being accused of fraud, under house arrest, the Chinese regime arbitrarily detained Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor for over 1,000 days, from December 2018 to September 2021.

Joly also told the committee on May 4 that Global Affairs Canada summoned Chinese ambassador Cong Peiwu over MP Chong’s case.

In a statement issued in response to Joly’s decision on May 8, the Chinese Embassy insinuated that it would retaliate against “provocations” and that Beijing would “play along every step of the way until the very end.”

The Globe and Mail reported on May 1 that, according to a national security source, a Chinese spy service and Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei had targeted MP Chong in 2021 for his advocacy for human rights in China.

Zhao, a consular officer in Toronto, had been described by a national security source as a “suspected intelligence actor” in an earlier Globe report published on Feb. 13.

Analysis conducted by The Epoch Times shows Zhao’s active participation in functions held by local organizations in Canada that share Beijing’s stances. Also in attendance were elected officials implicated in foreign interference scandals by national security leaks in the media.

Chong and his party have pressed the Liberal government in recent days to expel Zhao, and passed a motion in the House of Commons to that effect on May 8, with support from the NDP and the Bloc Québécois.

CSIS Assessment

Along with the government assessing the consequences of expelling Zhao, the federal government spent last week attempting to determine who knew what and when regarding the Chinese regime’s threats to MPs.

The Globe’s May 1 article cited a 2021 assessment produced by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) on Chinese interference in Canada. It said that one of the People’s Republic of China’s spy services, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), had “taken specific actions to target Canadian MPs.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initially said he was never briefed on this information, that he had first learned about the issue from the media on May 1, and that the assessment had never left CSIS.

This was later contradicted when it was learned that the assessment had circulated outside CSIS, including at the Privy Council Office (PCO), which is the prime minister’s department.

National Security and Intelligence Advisor Jody Thomas told MP Chong that her office, which sits within the PCO, had received the report.

Thomas was not in the role at the time, but one of her predecessors says he had not seen the assessment.

Vincent Rigby, who left the position on June 30, 2021, told The Globe and Mail he had also not seen the CSIS assessment.

The PCO told The Epoch Times that Mike MacDonald, who was acting in the position from July 6 to Aug. 3, had not seen the document.

“Mr. MacDonald does not recall having seen any material regarding threats to MPs during this time. As a result, no material describing any such threats was briefed,” said PCO spokesperson Pierre-Alain Bujold in an email.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who was not in the role at the time, said on May 6 that it’s a “serious issue” that CSIS didn’t brief Trudeau or his own predecessor Bill Blair directly on the matter.

Trudeau told reporters on May 3 that going forward, CSIS would need to brief the government about threats to MPs even if the information doesn’t meet a certain threshold.

He was asked on May 7 whether he had received new information on the issue since giving that directive.

“I wouldn’t want to mislead you and suggest that in recent years I haven’t been advised about concerns or issues involving MPs … related to foreign interference,” the PM said in French on May 7 while in London for King Charles III’s coronation.

From The Epoch Times

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