Ottawa (CNN) Canada Summoned the Chinese ambassador on Wednesday to respond to allegations of political interference and intimidation.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie broke the news during a heated exchange in Ottawa with opposition MP Michael Chung, who has now become the focus of accusations against China.
Chung has allegedly been the target of harassment by Beijing, and has sharply criticized the slow response of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.
Jolie also told MPs during the Foreign Affairs Committee session that Canada is considering retaliatory measures against China and that “all options are on the table” – including diplomatic expulsion.
However, she admitted that the Canadian government is carefully examining the possibility of retaliation from China, which denies meddling in Canadian political affairs.
“Of course China and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will take action (against) those interests, including economic interests, consumer interests and also diplomatic interests, will be affected and so – but it’s also about the interests of the country so we assess the benefit and I know we’re under pressure to move forward quickly.” And we also have to make sure that we protect our democracy.”
As first reported by The Globe and Mail, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) found that Chung and his relatives in China were targeted for harassment by a Chinese diplomat accredited to the country. CSIS also said that Beijing attempted to influence the outcome of Canadian federal elections in 2019 and 2021.
China’s embassy in Ottawa did not issue a statement or respond to a request for comment. CNN asked the Chinese Foreign Ministry about the allegations, specifically accusations made by CSIS about political interference and attempts at intimidation by a Chinese diplomat.
“China always opposes any country’s interference in other countries’ internal affairs. We have never had and have no interest in interfering in Canada’s internal affairs. At the same time, China firmly supports its sovereignty, security and development interests and resolutely opposes any action,” said Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During a statement at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, he “interferes in China’s internal affairs and harms China’s interests.”
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