China never has any interest in interfering in Canada's internal affairs, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, after a Canadian lawmaker called on the Canadian government to expel a Chinese diplomat accused of having sought to "intimidate" him and his family in Hong Kong region over the lawmaker's criticisms of China.
Canadian Conservative MP Michael Chong made the call on Wednesday, during a heated exchange in parliament in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government was put on the back foot, according to the South China Morning Post.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning responded to questions during a press conference on Thursday, saying that China consistently opposes any country's interference in another country's internal affairs, and China has never had any interest in interfering in Canada's internal affairs.
At the same time, China firmly upholds its sovereignty security and development interests and firmly opposes any acts of interference in China's internal affairs or harm to China's interests, Mao noted.
The outcry followed a report on May 1 by the Globe and Mail claiming that the Canadian government turned a blind eye to China's interference in Canadian affairs. Citing classified documents and an anonymous security source, the newspaper claimed that China's intelligence agency had planned to target Chong and his relatives with sanctions for having voted in February 2021 for a motion condemning China's policy in Xinjiang region as "genocide."
The Chinese Consulate-General in Toronto strongly refuted on Thursday the baseless claims and groundless accusations hyped up by certain Canadian media outlets and politicians.
The spokesperson of the Chinese Consulate-General in Toronto issued a statement saying certain Canadian media outlets and politicians recently have been intentionally hyping accusations that officials from the consulate-general were involved in "coercing" a Canadian member of parliament and his family, noting these claims are completely baseless and groundless, which the consulate-general strongly disagrees with and firmly opposes.
The spokesperson emphasized that the consulate-general has always strictly adhered to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and exercises its consular function under the Consular Agreement Between the Government of China and the Government of Canada. Consular officials have never engaged in any activities that are inconsistent with their official roles.
Certain Canadian media outlets and politicians have spread false information with the intent to damage the reputation and image of the consulate-general, and maliciously disrupt normal communication and cooperation between the two sides, the spokesperson said.
The consulate-general urged these media outlets and politicians to respect the facts and immediately stop spreading rumors and engaging in slander.