Chinese Ambassador to Canada Ends His Tenure, Global Affairs Confirms

Chinese Ambassador to Canada Ends His Tenure, Global Affairs Confirms
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Canada Cong Peiwu was seen at the Embassy of China in Ottawa, on Nov. 22, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Justin Tang)
Andrew Chen
4/19/2024
Updated:
4/19/2024
0:00

China’s Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu has concluded his tenure, the department of foreign affairs has confirmed.

“Former Ambassador Cong concluded his posting to Canada (duration 2019-2024),” Global Affairs Canada (GAC) stated in an email on April 19. Yong Zhao has been appointed as chargé d’affaires ad interim.

Mr. Cong’s tenure coincided with the arrest of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou and Beijing’s retaliatory detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. These incidents strained the relationship between Ottawa and Beijing, despite earlier efforts by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to seek closer ties with China.

The GAC did not specify the reasons for Mr. Cong’s departure but noted that it was informed in advance, adhering to standard diplomatic protocols. It added that the typical tenure for a diplomatic posting to Canada ranges from four to five years.

According to the Globe and Mail, Deputy Minister David Morrison is currently in China as part of an effort by Ottawa to bring Canada and China closer.
The Chinese embassy has not yet officially announced Mr. Cong’s conclusion of service.

‘Threats’

Throughout his tenure as China’s ambassador to Canada, Mr. Cong drew the ire of opposition MPs and human rights activists for comments that were at times seen as threats.
In 2019, during the Chinese regime’s suppression of large-scale pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Mr. Cong attended a press conference where he warned Ottawa against following U.S. lawmakers’ lead in enacting legislation to sanction Chinese officials involved in suppressing Hong Kong protesters. He further urged Canada to condemn the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

In the following year, Mr. Cong warned Canada against granting asylum to Hong Kong residents fleeing the city after Beijing introduced its draconian national security law. He claimed that granting asylum to Hong Kong residents would amount to “interference in China’s domestic affairs and certainly it will embolden those violent criminals.”

“So if the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” he said in a video press conference.

Conservatives condemned Mr. Cong’s remarks about Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong as a threat, with then-Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole asking the Liberal government to demand an apology from the Chinese ambassador.

“Last week, the Chinese ambassador threatened 300,000 Canadians currently living in Hong Kong. He has offered no public apology and this government hasn’t demanded one,” Mr. O’Toole said in the House of Commons on Oct. 19, 2020.

In a video statement dated Oct. 17, 2020, Mr. Cong described Canada as an “accomplice” in the arrest of Ms. Meng, alleging that her arrest was part of a U.S. scheme to target Huawei and other Chinese technology companies.
Mr. Cong had previously visited Ms. Meng, and in a November 2019 statement, he pledged to demand Canada “correct its mistake and take measures to solve the issue as soon as possible.” Canadians Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor were arbitrarily detained in the following month.
Andrew Chen is a news reporter with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times.