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Canada Expels Chinese Diplomat After Latest CSIS Leaks Embroil Communist Party Influence Operation

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: May 8, 2023
Canada has expelled diplomat Zhao Wei after a new CSIS leak said MP Michael Chong was targeted over a Uyghur genocide resolution.
A file photo of Canada's Foreign Minister Melanie Joly at a NATO meeting in Romania in November of 2022. The Government of Canada announced it has declared Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei “persona non grata,” expelling him from the country, after a new CSIS leak to network media alleged the official took part in intimidating a sitting Member of Parliament over a 2022 resolution condemning the Communist Party’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims as genocide. (Image: PUNGOVSCHI / AFP) (Photo by ANDREI PUNGOVSCHI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Government of Canada has declared a Chinese diplomat “persona non grata,” expelling them from the country, after another round of leaks from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the country’s version of the CIA, hit network media on May 1.

Announced May 8 and published directly on Canada’s website, Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs under Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau announced that “Canada has decided to declare persona non grata” a man named Zhao Wei.

Zhao Wei came into the crosshairs on May 1, when the Globe and Mail cited a 9-page document classified both “Top Secret” and “For Canadian Eyes Only” titled People’s Republic of China Foreign Interference In Canada: a Critical National Security Threat.

The Globe does not state how it obtained the document, but paraphrases a “national-security source” as clarifying some of the facts contained within.


The report, which is dated July 20, 2021, the same date as the 22nd anniversary of the CCP and now-deceased former Party leader’s Jiang Zemin’s persecution of Falun Gong, calls Beijing the “foremost perpetrator” of foreign interference in Canada. 

Serving as an assessment of the “baseline for understanding the intent, motives and scope” of the Party’s influence operation in Canada, the document stated that the regime’s intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security, “has taken specific actions to target Canadian MPs” involved in the passing of a February 2022 resolution condemning the CCP’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang as genocide, the Globe summarized.

The resolution was sponsored by MP Michael Chong, Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs for the opposition Conservative Party.

The event was highly notable because although the bill passed unanimously by a vote of 266-0, the Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers abstained from voting.

In the Globe’s article, the outlet summarized, “The spy agency said an MSS officer sought information on an unnamed Canadian MP’s relatives ‘who may be located in the PRC, for further potential sanctions.’ This effort, the CSIS report said, ‘is almost certainly meant to make an example of this MP and deter others from taking anti-PRC positions.’”

Relying on the unnamed “national-security source,” the Globe declared the target as MP Chong and a man named Zhao Wei, described as “a Chinese diplomat in Canada” as “working on this matter.”

Chong told the Globe he was unaware of being made a target and that he has family in Hong Kong.

“To date, we’ve not had a single Chinese diplomat that’s been expelled. To date, we’ve not had a single individual charged because of this foreign interference,” the Globe quoted Chong as stating.

Prior to the report, news related to a diplomat named Zhao Wei appears to not exist on the English internet, arguably on account of the man sharing the same name as Chinese actress Zhao Wei who was banned from mainland streaming platforms in August 2021, causing hundreds of articles to be written, occupying search engine results.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said “China will resolutely take countermeasures” in a statement in response to the ousting, a May 8 Reuters report stated.

Roland Paris, a professor at the University of Ottawa was paraphrased as telling Reuters that the Party “is mostly likely to respond by expelling a Canadian diplomat.”

MP Chong told reporters, “It shouldn’t have taken two years for the government to make this decision,” following the announcement, Reuters added.

On May 3, Trudeau blamed CSIS, paraphrased as alleging the agency “withheld information about Chinese threats against a Canadian lawmaker and his family in 2021,” Reuters reported in a second article.

Trudeau was quoted as saying, “Going forward, we’re making it very, very clear to CSIS and all our intelligence officials that when there are concerns that talk specifically about any MP, particularly about their family, those need to be elevated.”